What You Don’t Know About Me (and the Most Important Lesson I’ve Learned)

terry gorry

This is my real story.

Not the official, sanitized version on the About Page of my handful of blogs/websites.

But the real story of a moment of crisis-the property crash in 2007-which threw my life completely out of kilter and was, literally, life and career changing.  

You might learn something from it, and avoid some of the mistakes I made. In fact, I firmly believe you should learn something from my story, especially if…

Wait. Every decent story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Ready? Let’s go.

The beginning of my business life

My business/work life really started when I was 23.

Prior to this I had done a B. Comm degree in U.C.D. and had very reluctantly begun to study for professional accountancy exams. I say ‘reluctantly’ because I viewed being an accountant as being a scorekeeper, not a player.

And I wanted to be a player.

In 1986 I bought a shop in Dublin with my brother and I have been self employed ever since (apart from a very brief period which I cannot go into for legal reasons).

I have worked extremely hard since then-in retail shops, newsagents, convenience stores, property development/construction. I even owned a pub for a while. And held an auctioneer’s licence.

I bought sites, flipped them, bought shops, drove the turnover to the maximum and sold as close to the top of the curve as possible.

I bought a pub and stripped out the 7 day licence, looked for permission for redevelopment of the building, was refused, sold the building anyway and sold the licence to Lidl or Aldi (I can’t remember which, but was just thankful to get out of the licensed trade before the more restrictive drink driving laws decimated the trade).

I’ve hand washed cars, manually dipped fuel storage tanks, and employed hundreds over the years.

I’ve also worked on a building site supervising the construction of a small block of apartments on a site I bought.

I drove the teleporter and even passed the test to obtain a licence to drive forklifts and teleporters. (I sometimes joke that I’m the only solicitor in Ireland with a teleporter licence.)

I lifted buckets of “muck” (mortar) to the blocklayers, pallets of tiles to the roofers, scaffolding to the scaffolders, and switched the forks for a big bucket in order to level the ground around the site.

Pressure?

I’ve felt pressure, too, but…

Pressure can mean different things to different people, depending on where they are in life at a given point in time.

For me, pressure was lifting a pallet of roofing tiles up 2.5 stories to 6 Lithuanian roofers, watching them scurry like ants left and right as the entire machine, with forks extended, and pallet of tiles swayed from side to side in the wind and rain, trying to peer out through a filthy windscreen stained on the inside with cigarette smoke, and rain and muck on the outside that the one functioning wiper was trying, and failing, to keep clear.

Pressure was running a filling station and running out of petrol on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend with the delivery truck stuck in heavy traffic, or worse-only delivering on Saturday.

Pressure was telling a man that the reason his new 5 series diesel BMW won’t start is because my newest member of staff has just pumped it full of petrol.

Pressure was worrying about not having money for food next week and knowing that social welfare is not an option because you’ve been independent, self sustaining, and self employed for over 20 years.

Pressure was going back to college to study law when you’re 42, spending your last few bob on the books you need, and having to pass 8 exams within 12 weeks when it normally takes student colleagues a few years.

Because the choice was…there was no choice.

For you, now, pressure will mean something completely different.

It could be pressure in your job from a harsh, bullying boss, pressure in your business from the need to get in outstanding debts, pressure from the banks, pressure to make ends meet in your household each week, pressure of raising a family, pressure of keeping a roof over your head and food on the table.

And sometimes you wonder about things, about how things take a turn from time to time. Does fate and serendipity and chance and luck and coincidence play any, or a critical, role?

I believe they do. Let me tell you a story.

I wind the clock back to the late 1987 or 88. I remember vividly driving across the city from Glasnevin to Walkinstown to have a chat with a lad from Mullingar in the same game as myself-retailing.

It was a Saturday morning and we discussed the pain in the ass that retailing was. That lad was Michael O’Leary (yes, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary), and at the time I felt sorry for him because I could see his venture into retailing was not going to end well.

But because it didn’t he was forced to change direction and go back into accountancy, something we had both sworn we did not want to do. He became personal assistant to Tony Ryan and the rest is history.

O’Leary was given a chance and ran with it, made the most of it.

Sometimes described as one of Ireland’s greatest businessmen, people forget that he never actually started a business. Tony Ryan started Ryanair and ignored O’Leary’s advice when O’Leary told him to ‘close it down, it will put you on the road’.

I remember I later hurled abuse at the Late Late Show screen when he went on to try to rewrite history about this venture in retailing at Walkinstown roundabout  in conversation with Pat Kenny.

Anyway, I digress slightly.

I went on to make a good living and was financially comfortable at a relatively young age.

The middle-property crash

And then I lost everything.

The property crash, which started in 2007 and saw steady declines in property values for the next 5/6 years, wiped out over 20 years of my hard work and capital.

A complete wipe-out, just like many people suffered in the Irish economy.

What was I to do? I was 42, hadn’t worked as an employee for over 20 years and had lost all my capital.

I started studying law in my garage at home and at Griffith College, passed the entrance exams-the FE1s- to the Law Society, got an apprenticeship as a trainee solicitor from my own solicitor, and qualified a couple of years later as a solicitor.

That apprenticeship was my first job in over 20 years and the sense of claustrophobia in my little room in a house overlooking a suburban back garden in Dublin was something I had never experienced. I had gone from being a successful self employed business man employing a good number of employees and dealing with contractors and subcontractors on my own building site and running retail businesses for over 20 years, to this.

I had a genuine urge to just go home again, because I thought I would never stick it.

But I hung in there and got used to my new circumstances. And what helped me was the most important lesson that I will tell you about later.

Within one month of qualifying as a solicitor I set up my own solicitor’s practice.

The end?

Now?

Now, I’m on the way back.

Slowly. Step by step. Tiny steps, coming back from the brink.

Hustling and grinding and working hard in my solicitor’s practice.

Now I laugh when someone accuses me of not understanding their pain because I just sit in a nice, warm office wearing a suit and dispensing professional advice. They don’t know my back story.

I chuckle when an employer tells me I don’t know what it’s like to be in a cash flow difficulty, or have a difficult employee who is causing disruption in the workplace.

I laugh when someone tells me they have lost money in a property investment and I don’t really understand, how could I?

Or they are having difficulties with the banks or tenants or employees or suppliers.

I have faced all these difficulties, so I have a good understanding. I have a fair idea, I can assure you, of the ups and downs that life can throw at you.

The most important lesson

But the one lesson I learned from it all? I think I discovered the most important tool anyone can have.

Put succinctly: the right attitude.

There is probably fancy ways of describing what I am talking about but I firmly believe the most important tool you can have in meeting adversity is the right attitude.

Choosing your attitude, and how you react to your circumstances, is within your power. Not the circumstances-you have no power over those-but how you react is within your gift.

This is what Dr. Frankel discovered when he observed the inmates in a number of concentration camps during the second world war. Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” can be summarised in this quotation:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

(I’ve written about Frankl before in this article, in which I write about a common mistake I see many employees make).

Anyway, I hope my story and what you probably didn’t know about me might be useful for you.

And the lesson I learned from my own experience and the experience of concentration camp survivors will serve you well, if you choose it.

3 Easy Ways to Be Penny Wise and Pound Foolish in Relation to Legal Services

legal-services

It never ceases to amaze me.

There are 3 simple ways to be “penny wise and pound foolish” I encounter frequently in my solicitor’s practice:

1.      “I don’t want a big long agreement/legal document; I just want something simple”

This potential client is no fool; he recognises that he needs a legally binding contract to protect his interest, but wants something “short” because he doesn’t really want to spend any money.

He even mentions that a “one pager” should suffice as relations with the other party are good.

And I explain that the only time that this document/agreement will be looked at closely will be if there is a dispute between the parties. If there is a row, the agreement will be scrutinised closely, especially by his legal advisor, and will need to stand up to close inspection.

This is the problem with the “one pager”-if there is no dispute the agreement will probably not be referred to again, and it doesn’t matter if it is inadequate.

However, if there is a dispute you don’t want to experience that sinking feeling when you look over your one pager and discover that it is either completely silent on the problem that has arisen, or has dealt with it inadequately and failed to protect your interest.

2.      “I would like you to review my potential employment related case but I am not prepared to pay a small fee for a consultation”

If I am to review the circumstances surrounding, for example, your dismissal from your job, or any other issues you have in your employment, I am going to need to do a few things. These things will require

  • My time
  • My expertise

The things I will probably need to do will be to

  1. take full instructions from you to get your version of events;
  2. review any relevant documentation such as correspondence, contract of employment, and staff handbook;
  3. check any relevant legislation/regulations.

Now, if you also consider that the maximum amount you could be awarded for a successful claim would be two years’ salary you might think that the few bob spent getting your case reviewed would be money well spent, especially if it is less than €100.

Let’s be honest: if you have a good claim the consultation fee will be well spent because of the chance of a successful outcome.

If you don’t have a good claim are you not better off finding this out at the beginning rather than embarking on a costly claim or legal proceedings with little prospect of success.

3.      “I’m buying a house but am not prepared to spend €300 for a structural survey-it’s a waste of money, especially if the sale does not go ahead”

This person sees the spending of €300, or thereabouts, on a structural survey on their target property because the money will be “wasted” if the purchase does not go ahead.

Let’s consider this closely: you are about to make probably the biggest investment of your life with massive money at stake, a decision that will affect you for life, and you don’t want to blow €300 of a survey.

If your survey prevents you from making a bad investment for the rest of your life, for example a pyrite affected house, surely it is a no brainer that the cost of this report is a great investment.

The same principle applies to any property related purchase or lease-there are certain professional fees that come with the territory. If you are not prepared to pay these fees you might be better off steering clear of property investment.

Because the consequences of getting one wrong can be catastrophic.

Conclusion

Think carefully about the consequences of skimping-weight up carefully what can go wrong versus what you are saving.

Solicitors in Mullingar-Mullingar Solicitors

If you are looking for solicitors in Mullingar then you should consider contacting Terry Gorry & Co. Solicitors. This is a new practice which covers Mullingar Court and offers a personal and professional service for any legal business you need dealt with.

You can contact Terry personally through the contact form on this site or through the contact numbers at the top of this site.

Whether you face a prosecution by way of a District Court Summons or Charge Sheet procedure Terry will represent your interests and rights fearlessly and make sure that you have the best legal advice as to your options and consequences.

You may, in certain circumstances, be eligible for free legal aid and if you use the contact form on the right with your details Terry can give you a good idea as to whether you will qualify or not.

Ultimately though the granting of a legal aid certificate will be a matter for the District Court Judge.

Road traffic offences

Road traffic offences are a commonly dealt with range of offences in the District Court in Mullingar and the consequences of conviction for some road traffic offences can be very serious for you including disqualification and possibly jail.

This is why such prosecutions should not be treated lightly by you and why you should engage the services of a solicitor to represent you.

Terry Gorry & Co. Solicitors also deal with all civil law matters such as personal injuries, debt collection, family law, wills and probate, employment, property, landlord and tenant and business law.

Terry can draw on a twenty year career in business as a small business owner, company director and entrepreneur which makes him uniquely placed to advise and help small business owners who face many problems in the normal course of events but whose problems are now exacerbated by the downturn in the economy.

Receivership, liquidation, strike off of companies are commonplace now for many small companies and employment problems to do with constructive or unfair dismissal, redundancy and other employment related difficulties are causing huge waiting lists in the various employment tribunals to which you might revert such as the Rights Commissioner procedure or Employment Appeals Tribunal system.

So, if you need Mullingar solicitors call or email now and Terry will contact you within 24 hours.

Solicitors Fees-How Solicitors Fees Are Calculated in Ireland

solicitors-fees

Solicitors’ fees can generate a lot of anger and frustration for people trying to understand how legal fees are calculated.

Section 68 of the Solicitors (Amendment) Act of 1994 sets out how solicitors are permitted to charge for services provided to their clients.

S. 68 compels the solicitor to let the client know, in writing,

  • what are the actual charges he intends charging the client or
  • an estimate of the charges where the solicitor feels that it is not possible to calculate the actual charges or
  • the basis on which charges are to be made.

When the solicitor takes instructions from his client he is obliged to provide the information set out above in writing.

If the matter is a contentious one, then the solicitor is obliged to let his client know the circumstances in which the client may have to discharge the costs of the other party in the proceedings.

S. 68 also stipulates that a solicitor cannot charge a percentage of any damages or money received by the client with one exception-debt collection where the solicitor can charge on a percentage basis.

Generally a solicitor cannot make any deductions from any moneys received on behalf of his client, unless he has an agreement in writing with the client to do so.

This might occur to allow the solicitor to get a payment on account for example in circumstances where he has provided significant legal services and incurred outlays over what sometimes can be a long period of time.

Once the proceedings have concluded a solicitor must let the client have a bill of costs in writing which sets out the legal services provided, the amount of money recovered by way of damages or otherwise and an account of fees and outlays expended on behalf of the client.

If you as a client are unhappy with the bill you receive in respect of solicitors fees you are free to have the matter set down for taxation (this is a process where a Taxing Master will take a look at the bill of costs and decide on it’s fairness).

“Taxation” in this legal context had nothing to do with what most people think of as taxation-it is the legal term for assessing the bill of costs in terms of fairness and not being excessive.

You as a client also have the opportunity under section 9 of the Solicitors Amendment act 1994 to make a complaint to the Law Society of Ireland. The Law Society can then impose various sanctions if the complaint is upheld such as ordering a refund.

No Win No Fee Solicitors

A ‘no win no fee’ (also referred to as ‘no foal no fee’) solicitor will take on your case on the basis that if your case is unsuccessful, the solicitor will not charge you a fee for his services.

However, bear in mind that you will almost certainly be liable for the costs of the other party in the case.

If your litigation is successful, then your ‘no win no fee’ solicitor will be due his full solicitors fees.

But the good news is that most litigation cases are decided on a ‘winner takes all’ basis which means that the other side will almost certainly be ordered to pay all of your costs, expenses and outlays.

However if there is a deficiency between the costs you have incurred and the costs order made by the Court and you are out of pocket, you will be liable for these.

No win no fee cases are very common in personal injuries actions and legal proceedings for medical negligence. You can obtain a no win no fee arrangement in other types of cases also such as employment claims and general litigation.

However, the Solicitors (Advertising) Regulations 2002 restrict how solicitors can advertise, particularly in relation to personal injuries claims.

So, while it is perfectly acceptable for solicitors to provide legal services in contentious business (such as personal injuries, medical negligence, etc) in Ireland, solicitors are not permitted to advertise that fact.

Solicitors’ Fees

Solicitors’ fees are calculated taking into account a number of factors including

  • The complexity or urgency of the matter
  • The skill, labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved
  • The difficulty or novelty of the issues
  • The amount of value of any transaction
  • Time spent on the file
  • Which Court your case is pursued in.

For this reason, a solicitor cannot always give you an exact figure as to his legal fees at the outset.

Section 68 of the Solicitors (Amendment) Act, 1994 sets out how solicitors are permitted to charge for their services.

Prior to acting for a client, a solicitor is obliged to let you know in writing either

  • What his legal fees  will be or
  • An estimate of what his charges will be where he/she is unable to calculate exactly the actual charges or
  • The basis on which he/she will be charging you.

Why would a solicitor offer to act on a no win no fee basis?

Quite frankly, if he does not, perfectly good, reasonable, and just claims will not be pursued because the person who has been wronged simply cannot afford to pay up front for outlays, costs, solicitors’ time, necessary medical reports, professional reports, stamping fees, etc.

No foal no fee arrangements are common in medical negligence and persona injuries cases because some of these cases can be incredibly complex and continue for quite some time. If the plaintiff was funding this on a time/costs incurred basis, he/she would soon throw in the towel.

And with the insurance companies involved on the other side and who have the time and resources to outwait and outspend you, the ordinary citizen is facing a serious imbalance of resources.

And perhaps never take the case to begin with which would ensure a wrong suffered would go unpunished.

But the notion of solicitors working for nothing is, to put it mildly, fanciful.

For this reason, any solicitor willing to take on a case on a no win no fee basis will firstly look at the case very carefully and assess the likelihood of a successful claim. To do this he/she should meet you and go through the circumstances of your case very thoroughly.

He/she may also obtain an opinion from counsel (a barrister).

Then, and only then, will she decide whether to act for you or not.

Injuries Board Claims

If your claim is processed successfully through the Injuries Board and you are satisfied with the award made, then your solicitor’s fees will have to be discharged out of the award as the Injuries Board, unlike a Court, will not award legal costs.

However, they may make a small contribution towards your legal fees. The Injuries Board and/or the insurance company on the other side may also make a contribution towards your costs and outlays such as for medical reports.

If the sum awarded by the Injuries Board is rejected by you or the other party a letter of authorisation will be issued by the Injuries Board. This allows you to pursue your claim through the Courts by way of a personal injuries action.

If you subsequently win your case or it is settled and the sum awarded is greater than the initial assessment amount by the Injuries Board, you will almost certainly get an order for costs of your action against either the defendant or insurance company.

However, this order will not cover the solicitors’ fees and other costs incurred prior to the authorisation.

 

Note: In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.