I suppose it rarely crosses the minds of property or commercial lawyers that they may create enmities sufficient to provoke violence. For criminal lawyers, there is the reassurance that they are on the side of those who might harbour and carry out violent acts.
For the family lawyer it can be different. Family disputes inflame passions and the lawyer can easily attract blame.
I dealt with what seemed a routine divorce. The marriage failed, the husband left home, his relationship with the daughter faltered and he reacted badly enough to incur an injunction and spend a night in custody.
All this was unfortunate, and the wife’s instructions were followed to the letter, but he blamed her lawyer for everything. Consequently, he composed threatening notes which he placed under my office door. I informed the police and they visited his flat, finding 150 more ready to post.
There, I may have been blameless. On another occasion a client informed me that she still did her divorced husband’s washing. She had found evidence that he was travelling to St Ives to claim state benefits fraudulently every fortnight. What should she do? Report him, I advised imperiously. More fool me.
Soon after, my car suffered a puncture and I found 10 small nails in a tyre. Then I found a six-inch nail sticking out of my spare tyre. No prizes for guessing the culprit and the police warned him off. But I learned a valuable lesson: keep your nose out.
John Greenwood, Chippenham, Wilts