This is my first time in next to 6 years of dealing with a lawyer who will not pay his invoice in full. His excuse is that he lost the case. Only with the letter of the financial break down of what his client was awarded, it looks like he paid himself and expects the court reporting firm and myself to take a major loss with barely paying a third of our individual invoices. He has even been offered a payment plan. Only it looks like we may have to take him to small claims court.

Has anyone else had to deal with this? Is it wrong to warn the other court reporting firms about such a lawyer? Tell them to have him pay upfront should he hire their services. This is a new one for me and input is welcomed.


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Hi, Chris. I don't imagine you agreed to do the work on a contingency basis, so your bill is due in full. It doesn't matter what the breakdown of the client's award was. Did you have a signed order form? This is becoming more and more expected, at least in my dealings with reporting firms. If I produce a signed order form for the original and all copy sales, including transcripts, condensed, realtime and rough drafts, then I am paid immediately. I will never know, if the reporting firm collects from the law firm. My agreement for work is between me and the reporting agency. As I mentioned in another thread, I recently covered an extended assignment for a firm that I trusted to pay me, and now that's questionable, and I will trust no more. But looks like you were working directly for the atty. Really, I wish you the best of luck in collecting. The excuse that he lost the case is bull. If he'd won treble damages for his client, would he pay you three times the amount of your bill???

With the gloom-and-doom economy and people not paying, I suggest requiring a credit card up front to guarantee all payments. That way, if the check never does come, you would have the credit card to use for payment.

Not all folk have a merchant account, but you could set up a PayPal account for this purpose only, if you so desire.

Me personally, I require all jobs to be paid by credit card. I do not invoice, do not use purchase orders, et cetera. That's how I roll as a transcriptionist of client-provided audio. If the company cannot pay by credit card, then they can use another service. I am not in this racket to finance others. I am not a bank, and I refuse to extend credit.

Lawyers today require money up front before they do one task for their clients. They tell the client to give them X amount of dollars to put in escrow for their fee, and then these lawyers have all the cheese ahead of time before they do anything on the case. I mean, WTF is that all about?! [Pardon my "French."]

I cannot tell the dry cleaner that I will pay him when I get paid, after I wear the clothing I just picked up. I cannot tell the dentist that I will pay him after I use my teeth a little while.

I don't do any legal today, but my experience has been that lawyers are the absolute worst payers, bar none. It is kind of ironic, considering they are supposed to be officers of the court. One would hope they would at least have a little integrity about paying their bills.
Go, Jennie!

I wish that every agency and every reporter required payment by credit card or a "retainer" before even showing up to the job. I wish. This argument has been going around as long as I can remember. So many of us are dealing with attorneys not paying. It is ridiculous. So if everyone required payment in full in retainer or at delivery, then just maybe the attorneys would stop bouncing from agency to agency because no matter where they went, they would have to pay for the final product before ever opening to the first page and we would get paid for all our hard work. A united front, as it were!
Jennie is exactly right. Oh, how I wished I had used that system twenty years ago. Two years ago when I worked for a very large law firm, in a particular insurance defense department, we had a few clients who were required to put money in escrow for their defense.

Many years ago I took a decent sized law firm to small claims court for nonpayment of a copy bill. The partner that ordered the copy showed up in the flesh. I'll make a long story short, but he ended up telling that same story to the judge, he lost the case and didn't think he should have to pay me. You can't imagine how big my eyes got on that one. Judge looks at me and I ripped this guy a new one in open court. Judge said I was right, pay her. He cut me a check on the other side of the courtroom door.

That's flat out B.S.!
WOW, Thank you all for your response. I have a bad habit of being nice, lol. When I moved to De from NYC I fell in love with how ethical the people are. Even the lawyers I work with. The CR firm who hired me on this asked me to bill the attorneys they hire me for direct. This is the first of 3 (looking to be the only) who isn't paying what he owes. After speaking with other attorneys & CR's in De they are all shocked. This does not & should not happen in the DE bar association. Its such a small community that when any of us mess up we may have dropped our drawers and pooped in public. lol
Thank you for your input. It seems that the CR firm and I will be filing in small claims court together. I also Have the interest of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. It will be taken care of, I just hate the nasty wrench in the wheel work when it didn't need to be tossed....


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