The most senior Polish solicitor working in Scotland has joined Purdie & Co to assist clients with residential conveyancing for house purchases and sales.

Gosia is a Director of Purdie & Co and is enjoying being able to provide legal services to the firm’s clients.

She qualified as a lawyer in Poland, graduating from the University of Bialystok, before coming to Scotland where she gained a degree in Law from Glasgow Caledonian University and a Diploma in Legal Practice with distinction from the University of Glasgow.

Before joining Purdie & Co, Gosia worked in legal departments of several legal practices across Scotland.

As a voluntary legal assistant and interpreter for Polish people living in Scotland, she has also gained extensive experience of civil and criminal procedures including in family law, although she will not be dealing with such matters at Purdie & Co.

Gosia, who heads the list of solicitors provided by the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh, says that many Polish nationals struggle with legal procedures in Scotland because they are often significantly different to the legal procedures they experience at home.

The relationship between solicitor and client can also be problematic because of certain ‘cultural barriers’.

She said: “Polish people can come across as quite ‘hard’ or ‘brusque’ when they communicate in English. This is a general misconception. Many also feel quite vulnerable.

“The establishment of trust is difficult for many of people I have had the opportunity to deal with. Many have already had a ‘poor’ or less than satisfactory ‘experience’ of lawyers.

 “Whatever aspect of law you can name, they don’t understand the process and they get nervous.”

She added: “The Polish system of house-buying and selling is quite different to the Scottish procedure. People don’t grasp the process, so my role at the start involves explaining it to them.

“So, for example, I must tell them not to be stressed if they don’t hear from me for a week or what will happen after they send the offer, what will happen next.

“Even if you send all of the information necessary to read clients tend not to,  so it’s my role to ensure they understand the process and, for Polish people, it’s an absolutely major point, the procedure and the process must be explained to them at the outset and they will still come to ask questions.

“Scottish clients will read the documents and they will more-or-less understand, although if not we are of course able to explain matters to them. For Polish people, because they are reading a foreign language, there is always more scope for misunderstanding and miscommunication.

“Having the ability to convey information in a concise and understandable way in their own language is a huge benefit to the Polish people.”

Gosia said that some solicitors can be reluctant to work with Polish clients because of those language and cultural barriers.

“It is a pleasure to assist all of Purdie & Co’s clients and also to be of particular assistance for any clients who are Polish given the ability to speak to them in their native tongue,” she said.

You can contact Gosia on 0131 346 7240 or email her at gosia@purdiesolicitors.co.uk