Lawyers first loyalty is to themselves
Lawyers first loyalty is to themselves, not their clients, says 24-7 Counselling Agency Director
The Director of 24-7 Ltd Counselling, Supervision, and Mediation Services, Steve Taylor, is delighted that Paul Maskell, Chair of the Family Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society has formally admitted that a Lawyers first loyalty when working with traumatised and vulnerable clients is to themselves, as opposed to their paying clients.
“This is a very significant admission from the New Zealand Law Society” says Mr Taylor.
“Now, vulnerable and traumatised clients who are regularly re-traumatised by being turned away and discouraged by Lawyers from filing legitimate Protection Order applications can finally understand why this happens – Lawyers look after their own people first, and the poor client who is paying for supposed independent and impartial legal advocacy comes a distant second”.
“In addition, The New Zealand Law Society has admitted that clients who seek a Protection Order are actually able to file Protection Orders on their own behalf, without having to refer to a Lawyer at all, and at no expense to the client filing the Application”
“This is indeed the case, whereby a client who wishes to file a Protection Order simply having to approach their local Family Court, fill in the Application paperwork (with a guidebook provided by the Court to assist this process), and then hand the Application to Court reception. The Court receptionist checks the document, assists the client in making any minor amendments, and then forwards the Application to be heard by the Presiding Judge – all for no fee”.
“Of course, at around $1000.00 - $2000.00 in fees earned per Protection order application filed with the Court, Lawyers are most reluctant to advise clients that they are actually able to file their own Protection Order applications at their local Court – it is good to see that the New Zealand Law Society now acknowledges the fact that clients may act on their own behalf, without having to incur the expense of a Lawyer at all” said Mr Taylor.
“Unfortunately, as well as undermining clients attempts at securing legitimate protection from the Courts, there are also a number of Lawyers who are undermining Counselling interventions for vulnerable clients, by Lawyers claiming knowledge and expertise of the Counselling field that they have neither the training nor clinical experience to claim”.
“These same lawyers are then reportedly heard to make inappropriate and unethical commentary to vulnerable clients about the nature of the respective Counselling interventions, interventions that have empowered the client to act in the interests of their own self-preservation in the first place”.
Clearly, Lawyers would be well advised to acknowledge their professional limits, and leave the Counselling interventions to those trained, qualified, and experienced to conduct such interventions” says Mr Taylor.