15 Sep 2014
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What’s a Lawyer to Do When a Client Won’t Pay?

Lawyers find themselves having to deal with customers who don’t pay their bills.

What’s a Lawyer to Do When a Client Won’t Pay? What’s a Lawyer to Do When a Client Won’t Pay?

Credit card companies apparently aren’t the only ones who have to deal with people who won’t pay their bills in this beleaguered economy. Now people are foregoing paying their attorneys as well.

While Mineola attorney Marc Gann, the immediate past President of the tends to “look the other way,” and prefers retainer agreements, that’s not always the case according to a story from Insurance News Net:

There have been some recent, high profile cases where lawyers have gone after deadbeat clients. In one example, a major multinational firm sued one if its clients, a telecommunications company, for more than $600,000 in unpaid legal bills. The company had worked with a lawyer in the firm for more than 30 years before it abruptly stopped paying fees for services. In another case, a New York-based firm sued a Texas investment company for $2.8 million for an unpaid bill; the company's defense involved claiming the law firm was overbilling.

Josh Kardisch, partner at Kardisch, Link & Associates in Mineola, favors regularly reexamining a client’s financial means:

"I like to think we are as detailed as possible in terms of setting out for our clients the likely costs so there are no surprises," he said. "And we bill regularly so we can see how a case is progressing and where they stand with regards to outstanding indebtedness to the firm."

While a law firm may employ a debt-collection agency, Kardisch warned that it may threaten existing relationships with clients and present ethical concerns.

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