Beatriz Saura: «When a lawyer is mistreated in a court, the entire legal profession with the Association has to defend him»

B.Elatrix Saura is a senior lawyer, expert in Criminal law business and technology and Normative compliance «who has been a professional for many years dedicated to the legal world in different fields.» To which she “likes the exercise of her profession, for which she feels a vocation, who likes people” and that, on her day, she was already president of the Association of Young Lawyers in Alicante. It is also, one of seven candidates Dean of the Madrid Bar Association (ICAM) which will hold elections for the position on December 20.

Saura regrets that “the Association is increasingly further away from people, from the profession, from the legal profession, I see that we are all disenchanted and on top of that, of course, as the economic situation does not help either, we are also very unhappy with the quotas that most of us think they are useless to us. For this reason, he decided to take a step forward and present himself to lead it: «I believe that something can be done, but not all of me, but all of the Legal Profession and my entire team, because my approach to the College is far from what it is now .

Our idea is to do something open, participatory and that not everything is the figure of the Dean and around it a school as if diffuse, but that everything is very clear, very structured where to go, who is responsible, who does this and also that all the things that have been done up to now and have not been done are done. In other words, we want a new stage for the Madrid Bar Association.”

–You speak of a more professional, social, digital and transparent College. How do you plan to get it?

-There are many things but staying with digital, for example, and linking with participation, we do not have an electronic vote. The College of Malaga has it, so it is not an impossible thing that I am inventing myself. Other years have promised it and no one has had time to do it. We have gone through a pandemic in which all companies have taken advantage to digitize. So, I think digitization is an issue that needs to be done now, even for openness and transparency. I believe that digitization is the means to facilitate the rest of the actions proposed by my candidacy. Technology means that we all have this immediate accessibility and we all carry a mobile. The courts have their platform, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has its platform, the Legal Profession… we don’t have our own platform.

-A proposal that will not arrive on time in these elections despite the fact that there have been complaints about voting by mail…

–We are talking about the fact that of the 77,000 lawyers in Madrid, 7,000 vote, and they do not arrive. It is a 10% that cannot be. And it is not the fault of the referees, but of the College and how things are being done. It is time to propose a change so that the institution welcomes us and we become part of it. All people, all professionals, not only in the Governing Board or the dean. It takes someone to say that there is hope, that we are not more of the same. The problem is that, in the end, right now of the candidates that we present to ourselves there are three colleagues who have left the current team but have had time to do it and have not done it. So, of course, now there are many people who say if they are the same. Again the same. How are we going to vote the same to stay the same…

– Do you think then that the abstention derives from the fact that the lawyers do not feel represented by the Association?

-Absolutely. I think it is true that we feel, in general, distant because it has been a long time since the College has been collecting our interests or protecting us when we have incidents. It cannot be accepted that they treat a lawyer badly, a lawyer, in court, and nobody does anything. The entire legal profession has to be behind it, with the Association to defend us. I believe in the Legal Profession, I believe that lawyers are serious, hard-working, socially responsible, committed people. However, the representatives we have had give a far image of that. Why are we not knowing how to transfer that image that later leads to many more things, such as preventive Advocacy?

–What weight should the legal profession have, according to you, in mediation and arbitration?

-Very, very much. Mediation seems so important to me that I would even introduce it within the College. Sometimes, that there are complaints between colleagues, rather than go to the typical administrative file, I would bet on mediation and that we can understand each other, internally and externally. Mediated solutions, in the end, are always more satisfactory for all parties. Same with arbitration. It seems to me that, taking into account the problems that there are right now in Justice, the traffic jam that exists in the courts, arbitration would be a great solution and I fully support it. You have to encourage it.

– Nor does the ex officio shift fare better in terms of remuneration and consideration. It seems like pro bono lawyers are worse than the rest or know less…

I think that image is being overcome but there is still a lot to do. in my team comes Silvia Cordoba, who is the one who in our candidacy, which we have ordered by matters around deputies-counselors according to their area of ​​experience, will be in charge of the ex officio shift. Recently, talking to her, I told her to write it all down because we don’t know this, we don’t know… A public defender is paid 30 euros to go to prison to pay a prisoner a visit. With that they are not paying you or gasoline. They are merely vocational people who, in addition to handling their affairs, are handling matters of the trade. And we have to improve them a lot: in that we are considered an authority so that they are defended or, in things as simple as having a parking space when they arrive at a court to attend a guard who does not know what to do with the car.

It is necessary to demand the updating of the fees – real, reasonable and proportional – to the work that the lawyers of the duty shift provide

And about the fees… I can’t even rate it. We are talking about dignifying the legal profession and in the 21st century there are professionals who are paid 30 euros for a service as important as the Right of Defense of a person who is deprived of liberty. There they are not paying for the training, the work, or the time… We must demand an update to real, reasonable and proportional fees for the work that is provided.

-You have been very critical of the “symbolic female presence” in the acts of the 425th Anniversary of the College. She assured that “it was a shame”. Is the figure of women really so underrepresented in a predominantly female legal profession?

–We are 52% of the profession. That is to say, the majority. And a 425th anniversary is being celebrated, which wasn’t necessary either, and I still can’t explain those photos in which there were hardly any women. It is a frontal contempt for lawyers. It seems to me that one cannot flaunt those images in which the role of the professionals at the presentation tables is merely testimonial. And many of the candidates who are presenting themselves now were in the organization or participated in it and at tables without women or perhaps with one. It seems bad to me, very bad, because you also talk to women, not women. The subject is in focus.

And I’m not talking about quotas because excellence is excellence and it doesn’t depend on people being neither women nor men. But of course, when we are more than half of the profession and we are always represented by 30%, I cannot understand it because I think that there are those who still have the wrong focus and who are not capable of seeing the value of people. I don’t think lawyers are more valuable than women lawyers.

-There are seven candidates, four of which are for men and three for women. Do you think that this is more in line with the reality of the profession?

-The problem is that if the person who organizes events does not call you… No one has called me for those 425th Anniversary tables but, like me, no other criminal lawyer. Aren’t there good penalty players in Madrid? And it’s not because they don’t know any, I know they do, it’s because they have their focus on their space and, in that spectrum, women are very limited. It seems to me that treatment like this is not acceptable because it means being light years away from what is the reality of Madrid society and the Madrid legal profession. If I am sitting here today, in front of you and in front of this camera, it is because I saw those photos of the commemoration and I thought it was an intolerable embarrassment. Those images do not represent me and they embarrass me as a collegiate. And I said to myself, introduce yourself, I got down to work to find a team of people who are aligned with me and see if, together, we manage to change this and that there is a new stage in the legal profession in which normal and ordinary professionals manage.

I hope that the day that membership is not mandatory, Madrid lawyers want to continue being part of a group of professionals who are supportive of each other and with a common project for their profession and for society

-Normal professionals in which you pay a lot of attention to young lawyers… Is it that today the Association does not take them into account?

– Well, I would say not or not enough. I am not moved by the fact that there is everything we propose: an observatory, programs of mentoring, agreements for homologation of titles at the EU level,… So, if they, who are the ones directly affected, are telling me that there isn’t, I think there isn’t. And if there is, of course, it is so hidden that it is so ineffective or very small. For example, as a collegiate I don’t know if the internships for the master’s degree for access to the profession are already planned or not.

–Do you think there is a lack of institutional transparency?

-There is no clear communication between the College and the Legal Profession. It is enough to enter our website and start looking for a specific thing to realize that you cannot find it. I no longer want to say that it does not appear at a glance, it is that it is not a visual and communicative page.

How is your campaign financed? Who’s behind?

-Well, we are behind it, the team, legal professionals. In such a way that in our candidacy no one expects great splendor. We have come here to offer our work, our enthusiasm, our desire to do things, not parties and events. We make ourselves available to the legal profession for that, to try to give them participation, improve and start a new stage in which things are done in a different way than they have been until now. But the investment is going to be more in time and illusion than economics. We do not have any large firm or institution behind us.

-Three wishes for Madrid and Spanish law in the coming years…

–It is difficult to condense so many challenges into three ideas, but I would like it to be a strong, close and loved legal profession that is recognized by society. I am convinced that with good management there would be many male and female colleagues who would register with the College and would do things pro bono, for example, which is also another way of reaching civil society; and, it seems to me that the Madrid Bar Association is the ideal place to channel it and reach agreements with NGOs, with administrations and with whomever is necessary. And give back to society what society gives us.

Beatriz Saura: «When a lawyer is mistreated in a court, the entire legal profession with the Association has to defend him»