The Spanish for a Lawyer is “Abogado” – equivalent to a Solicitor/Barrister in England and an Attorney in the United States.

The services of an experienced lawyer should definitely be employed in the case of buying property or land in Spain, investing or starting a business, making a will or instigating/defending a lawsuit.

Fees are generally lower than in northern European countries and for contracts involving a sum of money, such as a property purchase, fees are calculated as a percentage of the sum involved.

In circumstances where a lawyer is obligatory and your income is below double the Spanish minimum wage, free legal assistance is available. Unfortunately, not as much interest might be taken in your case as would be the case with a private lawyer.

The Colegio de Abogados, who administer the scheme, have a legal aid office in each Law court building or Palacio de Justicia. The procedure, however, is complicated and will involve much paperwork to prove your wage and assets.

As in most countries, some Lawyers specialize in different areas of the law, which means it is wise to check that a Lawyer is familiar with your requirements.

A family lawyer will help in the cases of divorce or disputes over custody of children.

A lawyer will often pay taxes and fees on your behalf. It is common practice for a Lawyer to ask you for a sum of money to put into his “client account” for which you will only receive a receipt. When all the transactions are complete you should receive original receipt documents for the taxes paid, a statement of the Lawyer’s own fees and the balance of your funds (if any). Always obtain an estimate of costs in advance, if possible in writing.

The Law society in Spain is called the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados and operates at provincial level and, amongst other things, sets minimum levels of charges.

Asking a lawyer for an estimate of his charges, in writing, is always a good idea. If a problem arises, it can be taken to the provincial colegio of which he is a member.