So, after a long, tiring day and night the case has finished. But now you face another problem…your client is denying to pay you the decided fees….So what are you going to do? Probably suing…But can lawyers sue their client? Wait be careful while you do so
Can a lawyer sue their clients?
Of course, a lawyer can sue their clients for due payment. But they have to do it very carefully otherwise it can backfire them.
This can backfire if you did a small mistake. How?
What happens when a lawyer sues their client?
If you are thinking to sue your client, think again …why?
#1. Your client can try to ruin your image. They can file a complaint to counsel for disciplined or can file a negative complaint or post negative social media posts.
#2. You are giving your client a chance to counter sue you for legal malpractice. If this happens you every action will be kept in observation and ultimately can get you in trouble.
#3. Even if the malpractice claim is not proved true, your image would be ruined and you will get in trouble in your next malpractice insurance application.
#4. Moreover, if you have not filed the case in the proper procedure then the court will not accept it. Also, it can sanction you to return your client the payment they have already paid you.
#5. If you lose the case you would face disciplinary action and even licensing issues.
How to sue a client?
If a fees default occurs you are left with two options: either to walk away in between the case or file a lawsuit against your client.
So what to do?
Eight steps to review before filing a Lawsuit
- Check the Potential of your Client to pay back: You should check the reasons why your client is not able to pay. If your client is not able to pay as he is financially weak then there is no reason to file a lawsuit.
- Choose non-litigation options: A lawyer should take filing a lawsuit as a last option. First of all, they should hire another person to talk to the client.
- Review the documents: The firm should review the following documents like the fees they are charging from the starting. They should check the facts and what they expect to recover.
- They should ensure that that all documents related to the case are retained; you have not tried any violence against your client.
- You should check whether you don’t have any malpractice lawsuit, as it will increase the chance of your client to counter sue you for malpractice.
- Your client will try to prove that you will have took a negligence effort while the case. Therefore make sure you have enough resort to prove that you have given your best in the case.
- If everything is alright, all fees and expenses are well written, and there is less chance of being countersued than only proceed with the case.
How to Avoid Fee Disputes?
How can to avoid this whole mess? An attorney can avoid this altogether by developing procedures and rules to ensure this never happens…
At the first engagement:
Your letter should clearly state the payment terms. You should make your client aware of the fees that he has to pay for you.
Through the case:
Send your client a bill every month clearly stating that month’s fees along with the reason why you are charging this fee. Usually, payment default happens when the lawyer fails to inform the client what they owe.
First late payment:
If a client refuses to pay:
Clients may refuse to pay when they feel they are improperly represented. You should decide in this case whether you want to discuss, or break off the deal.
In conclusion, always make sure you are well prepared for the lawsuit. Make sure to pay attention from the very start. Be clear with your client from the very start. But if you are well prepared then you can go for a lawsuit.