What’s worse than 2 dead lawyers?

Just 1 dead lawyer! Yeah, I know, stupid joke but the following may slightly justify it.

Ursula and I have been looking for a new lawyer for a while now and, as we’re hanging near Nerja for a while thought we’d look there. Our last lawyer was a Spanish Abogado in Antequera but with their poor English and our poor Spanish, communication was never easy. Anyway, they were consumed by a host of personal problems and unable to continue working for a while, so we were on our own at a difficult time when strong legal representation could really have helped.

Needing to be able to communicate clearly and easily and hoping to find someone more dynamic and proactive, we thought we’d go for an English lawyer based in Spain, hoping to get the best of both worlds. After some research, a likely candidate emerged; a team of English and Spanish lawyers with branches in Nerja, Marbella and London. So I phoned up to make an appointment and had the following conversation with a snobby person who might have been called Naomi.

Nerja

Me: Hi, I’m looking for a lawyer to represent my wife and I in some future property deals, company formation stuff and some personal matters and would like to come in for a meeting to see if you would be right to represent us.
Snobbette: Er, so you want a consultation?
Me: No, I want to meet with, interview if you like, one of your senior partners to see if you would fit with us and our plans.

Trust me, if you’re going to work with lawyers, they often come to know more about you than anybody else; wife, parents, doctor, holy person if you’re that way inclined, none of these will ever know as much as your lawyer, so it’s important to work with someone you feel comfortable with.

Snobbette: A___ J______ is the partner here.
Me: How long has he been with the firm?
Snobbette: Oh, about a year!
This should have been my tip that these people weren’t clued up!
Me: You do remember me saying I wanted to meet with a senior partner?
Snobbette: Shall I set up the consultation?
Me: Why don’t you tell AJ what I’ve told you and check with him?

After several mins on hold, Snobbette returns…
Snobbette: Mr J will meet with you but if he gives you any advice the charge will be 80 Euros an hour.
Me: Oh, there won’t be any advice given, I just want to meet to see if I think you’d be right for us
Snobbette: Er, so you don’t want legal advice?
Me: NO! I want to interview one of your senior partners to see if you’d be the right legal represention for us!

I’m not famous for my patience and this clueless twit is really starting to hack me off. I’m looking for sharp legal minds and I’m practically being hustled for a lousy 80 Euros.

Me: Have you told AJ what I said?
Snobbette: Yes and he said he would meet with you but if he gave you any advice it would be for 80 Euros an hour.
Me: I’ve decided you’re not the right firm for us, you don’t hear what I’m saying to you and all you want to talk about is money, before we’ve even met. Goodbye.

And I hang up.

A few days later, Ursula and I are walking in Nerja and see a little law firm and for some reason are drawn to their door. I didn’t really want to go in, still hacked off over my last lawyer experience and not being sure where to try next, given our English strategy was in tatters. So Ursula popped in and got their card and told me that everyone in there spoke English, though appeared to be Spanish. I noticed they had a website and planned to check them out later back home.

I didn’t actually get round to looking at their site til the next day, but, surprise, it was built in not only Spanish, but also English and German! And it was a good site, nice simple design, quick to load and easy to use and not too big! And their philosophy of getting to know the client, of treating the client’s needs and problems as if they were their own, was just what we needed! This was looking good.

They had a page showing all the staff, their qualifications and areas of expertise and I was able to identify 3 or 4 who had the necessary legal and commercial background. S0 I phoned up and was able to set up a meeting the next day with one of the 3, a senior partner with a solid financial understanding. and we went in, had a great meeting with one Ernesto Yagüe Sánchez, who spoke good English and just seemed to get us straightaway.

Ernesto

To cut a long story shorter, we now have new lawyers in the shape of the good people of Del Prado & Partnersand are feeling a lot happier after another difficult 15 month stretch as we continue growing into our new lives here in Spain. Several people messed us about quite seriously during that time, our 3rd year in Spain, but now well into our 4th, we feel able to make up for lost time, confidence restored by the new alliance and come out fighting!

When you’re a stranger in a strange land, and are doing any kind of business, it’s vital to have a strong team of people supporting you, to protect you against yourself and your lack of knowledge of the way they do things here, the very different way of doing things they have here in Spain. And now we do! So watch out world, here we come, again.

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Rocket Festival, Antequera 29 April to 1 May 2005

Thanks to a blog i found today, Agenda Personal, I found out about the awesome Rocket Festival (Festival site in English & Español) taking place in a beautiful hidden valley near Antequera (links to city info in English, Español and more info on the new serendipitous discovery World66). I haven’t had time to check it out personally but W66 appears to be a great wiki travel guide, “the travel guide you write” (my italics) and their site has a Creative Commons licence too – well worth a more detailed visit I reckon.

The Rocket Festival runs from the Friday (29/4) to the Sunday (1/5) and “is a three day festival of contemporary and traditional music, performance and sculpture set in a beautiful site in the heart of Andalucia in the deep south of Spain. Local artists, performers and crew are working with guests from across Europe to create a truly international festival with a strong Andalucian influence.

The ethos of the festival is to bring together as diverse a range of entertainment as possible. Artists from Malaga, Granada and Antequera will share a stage with artists from Britain, Austria, France and elsewhere in Europe.

Musical styles will vary from traditional and modern Andalucian music through blues, jazz, rock, reggae to the best live dance music and DJs. The main stage powered by the Innerfield Soundsystem hosts a wide variety of local and international bands.

The Dance Tent powered by Turbozone features DJs and Live Acts from Spain, England and the rest of Europe playing Breakbeat, Drum and Bass, House and Techno.

A strong focus is placed on traditional and modern circus and performance with demonstrations and skills workshops for people of all ages.

Look out for the spectacular 21st century sculptures in the arts and crafts area – workshops for young and old alike are available to learn some new skills.

The Rocket Festival is open to people of all ages. A lively kids area is provided to keep the young ones entertained with the skateboard ramp and BMX track in the Extreme Area for the older and more adventurous.

The site of the festival is a tranquil valley 15km from Antequera below the stunning Sierra De Camorolos mountain range. The site has excellent access via the A45 Malaga – Cordoba motorway with regular cheap flights to Malaga from all over Europe.

A key objective for the festival is to promote the importance of nature and the environment and this has been a big influence on the choice of venue. Through the festival and our approach to recycling the festival aims to increase ecological awareness and respect for our surroundings within the community.

If you want to get involved or find out more about the festival please get in touch. CONTACT US.” And they mean it too – 6 hours work earns you a refund of the massive 40€ entry!

work is a 4 letter word

So there I am, hunched over the computer, 20-odd Firefox tabs open, battling to get my head round re-designing our Antequera Villa Rental website, when in from the garden comes Ursula, asking for advice. So we go outside and down the garden path where I find a mound of vine prunings and Ursula turns and says “I’m tired and just wondered if you could help me by picking up these prunings?”.

At this moment it’s a choice between giving in to the presumption that physical labour is somehow “better” than working on the puter and venting frustration that I have now totally lost the precious little concentration and understanding I can muster to upgrade the site. Concentration lost, frustration won. I won but also lost, lol.

Busy days in Antequera…

Ursula and I have now got 8 weeks and counting to finish all the building work and find a new place to live – both for ourselves and Ursula’s mother Stella, who has now decided to move to Spain to enjoy some decent weather.

This week we are putting in a new shower room with the help of our builder Miguel and plumber Antonio. They have seen us through several crises over the last four years and we know we can trust them to do good work!

Meanwhile our best friends here in Spain, Mark and Åsa, are painting the entire exterior whilst Ursula tends to the garden. This is a bigger task than it might sound – there’s over 4000 metres of it for a start – and our newly hired gardener has quit after only one week!

And our new electrician, Andy Parker, who has only recently joined the great European migration trail to the South, is sorting out the tangled web of circuitry left by his predecessor whilst looking after the varied demands of a wife and 2 teenage daughters and coping with his first does of Spanish flu.

As for me, I’m still figuring out how to do a significant upgrade of our website which involves a steep learning curve as an RSS feed or two, Amazon Associates coding, PayPal payment coding , an MPG of Ursula’s Recent satellite TV interview and a total design overhaul to be done. and I’ve only ever built 2 websites before, and that thanks to the user-friendly Web Studio software. It should be an interesting challenge for both it and me!