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Press Release

ADVOCO Expands and asks Lousy Spanish lawyers to


change ways
SPANISH law and accountancy practice Advoco announced a major expansion today in
spite of recession and what it called the “lousy” image problem of Spanish lawyers
among foreign residents. Speaking at the launch of the website www.advoco.es senior
partner Manuel Garcia Pedregosa said the firm was now offering legal, tax, accounting
services to English-speakers throughout the provinces of Granada, Malaga and Cordoba.

He said that foreigners’ misgivings about the Spanish legal profession were more about
trust and service than technical expertise and that they represented an opportunity for
modern, customer-driven firms to thrive. Mr Pedregosa traced some of the causes of
disenchantment among foreign communities back to the long property boom:

- a “conveyor belt” approach adopted by some firms to the homebuying process


- the perception that solicitors were too close to the estate agents and developers
who brought them clients
- the failure to protect foreigners caught up in illegal build scandals [many buyers
have had their properties declared illegal because bribes were paid by developers
to secure planning permission].

Advoco has spent six months developing and rolling out an expanded version of the firm
designed to counter negative preconceptions held by its target market of mainly British
residents:

- Service from ten centres spread throughout Granada, Malaga and Cordoba
- Dedicated client service associates in each centre recruited from the local foreign
community
- Low cost and innovative online and phone services via the new website
- An open pricing policy with fees analysed and agreed upfront
- An out-of-office service where Advoco meet clients at or near their home or
workplace
- Guarantee against conflicts of interest. Advoco will have no commercial
relationship with any businesses or organisations which may compromise the
independence of advice given

About problems facing Spanish lawyers and other professionals

Reporting of the recession in Spain has concentrated on fallout from the property boom
but it’s not just estate agents and builders who have struggled. This month El
Confidencial reported, in an article headlined “The Ruin of Lawyers”, that many small
practioners “barely cover expenses”. In coastal hotspots and other areas popular with
foreigners, many lawyers are struggling as conveyancing work has dried up and some
have shut their doors.

Quite apart from the recession, the image problem of Spanish lawyers described by Mr
Pedregosa has resulted mainly from the numerous complaints, petitions, legal actions and
campaigns undertaken by unwitting foreign buyers of illegally built property. The direct
blame for this situation has been laid at the doors of corrupt Town Halls, estate agents and
developers (according to one campaign group in Malaga alone “18 of the 29 mayors are
under investigation for real estate corruption”). But lawyers have come under fire for
among other things:

1. Negligence (e.g. failing to block illegal clauses in sale contracts or include


guarantees the buyer is entitled to receive by law)
2. Collusion with dishonest estate agents and developers selling property without
habitation licenses
3. Working in the interests of agents and developers and against those of their clients
(e.g. by recommending against legal action for breach of contract even though a
clear case existed)
4. Not carrying professional indemnity insurance

The problem has been compounded by the lawyers’ professional body (Colegio de
Abogados) failing to act upon or even acknowledge some serious complaints. For more
information and to read real life stories of buyers caught up in illegal build scandals, visit
the website of campaign group Spanishpropertyscandalpetition.co.uk which has
petitioned Downing Street and is preparing a petition to the European Parliament.

About Advoco

Senior partners

Manuel Garcia Pedregosa is a qualified lawyer and accountant and member of the
Granada Colegio de Abogados. He has 23 years experience in private practice
specialising in small and medium sized businesses and property law. He is partner in
overall charge of the legal and accounting departments of ADVOCO.

James Baker is a Chartered Accountant who qualified in London in 1990. He moved to


Spain in 2002 and is now registered as an accountant in Spain. He is in overall charge of
ADVOCO’s client service, including management of the phone and internet services.

History

Advoco was formed in 2005 as partnership between Mr Baker and Mr Pedregosa to


market and deliver the services of Inmobiliaria Y Asesoria GECASA S.L. to English-
speaking residents of western Granada province. Over the next three years services were
expanded to cover most aspects of Spanish law, personal and business tax, small business
accounting and public administration.
In 2009 the partnership was extended with the addition of professionals from Cordoba,
Marbella, Benalmadena and Almuñecar and new specialisms in property law, litigation
and family law. A network of customer service associates was recruited to enable
services to be delivered to English-speaking people across the three provinces.
August 2009: www.advoco.es goes live.

For more information contact:

James Baker (Senior Partner, Marketing and Client Service)


Advoco
info@advoco.es
0034 952891851
Website: www.advoco.es