How do I verify a lawyer in Spain?
When seeking legal assistance, all the more so in a foreign country, it is normal to feel lost or overwhelmed. This, unfortunately, makes it all the easier for you to be tricked into paying fees to fraudsters who claim to be lawyers while lacking the proper training or accreditation. Here is what to look out for in order to avoid these scams.
A large percentage of ‘fake lawyers’ are students with some understanding of the law but without a licence from the relevant Bar Association or ‘Colegio de Abogados’. Some are genuine lawyers who continue to practice despite being stripped of their status due to malpractice or unpaid fees. Others are simply con artists without any legal education whatsoever, though this is less common.
You may also see some job titles such as ´legal advisor‘ or ´legal consultant´ used by unscrupulous professionals to avoid fines or even prison time. In not explicitly calling themselves ´lawyers´, they are protecting themselves from prosecution if it is discovered that they lack a licence or valid authorisation.
Remember, however, that only lawyers registered in a ´Colegio de Abogados´ with an individual licence number will have the correct credentials to allow them to represent you in court in Spain. What´s more, it is very likely that the so-called ´fake lawyers´ will not have the experience, expertise or resources necessary to achieve your desired outcome. It is therefore essential to ensure you are aware of the training and qualifications of the legal professional you intend to hire.
You can find the names and numbers of every licensed lawyer practising in Spain on the Censo de Letrados database of the ‘Consejo General de la Abogacía Española’. See here for the full article in Spanish on this topic in CincoDías.
Author: Helen Pino Vera
Licensed lawyer nº 34932 from the Barcelona Bar Association and co-founder partner at Klev & Vera Law Firm SLP