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Documented Efforts to Collect on Attorney’s Fees (Part 1)

by merlin on April 22nd, 2015
  • Sumo

This is the first entry in an intended series of posts to describe efforts which I have initiated against certain recalcitrant clients after their cases finished (as they requested, I might add) and they failed to pay me.  I initially attempted to request payment from them informally, but there is a documented route to take that I have not attempted to follow in some time, and the judicial process is overall best for everyone involved – it has security and safety for both the former client who does not want to be “shaken down” by the attorney they no longer view favorably, and for the lawyer, as well, since they will then have access to garnishments, liens, and other mechanisms of enforcement.

Please, feel free to make any comments or suggestions to this document, as it is important to improve the basic form I have created for use in this process and I am more than a little rusty at the statutory collection scheme!


Of course, the actual letter is sent on my letterhead:

____________ ______, 2015


_________________ ________________

XXXX ___________________ Road

_______________, Georgia 305XX


RE:   Services rendered (___/____/________/____/____);

           Criminal Defense – Superior Court of XXXX County

           Case no. XXXXXXXXX


Mr. ___________________:

This is an attempt to collect a debt.  Any information obtained will be used for that purpose.  This letter is being sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, and begins a formal collections process against you.

As you are aware, the Attorney-Client Agreement executed between us and dated ____________________, states at Paragraph 6 that you have agreed to be responsible for the costs of collection if you should refuse or impede submission of any dispute concerning the fees owed to the State Bar of Georgia.  You have yet to submit this dispute to the State Bar of Georgia, even though my active representation of you ended with the complete dismissal of all charges against you on _________________.

Section 13-1-11 of the Official Code of Georgia provides at subsection (2) that the note executed between us, which does not specify a specific interest rate for unpaid costs and fees, “shall be construed to mean 15 percent of the first $500.00 of principal and interest owing on such note or other evidence of indebtedness and 10 percent of the amount of principal and interest owing thereon in excess of $500.00”.  The statement in #6 requiring that you pay the costs associated with my collection efforts should I hire a collection agency or pursue the unpaid debt myself are now being enforced, and you will be responsible for the fees and costs, such as interest and reasonable attorney’s fees as specified in the statute, detailed and quoted above.  As you are aware, this will add $_________ to your bill.  Because you have stopped paying, I have suspended all fees in lieu of filing suit against you, except for post-judgment interest fees that will begin accruing after judgment is entered against you, and which will be rigorously documented as required by applicable garnishment and collection laws, as well as any other fees to which I may be hereafter entitled by post-judgment collection mechanisms.

You have ten (10) days from the receipt of this notice to pay the principle and interest owing, in full, without the imposition of said attorney’s fees and any other costs to which I may be legally-entitled.  If you pay the principal and interest in full before the expiration of such time, then the obligation to pay the attorney’s fees shall be void and no court shall enforce the agreement.

I have enclosed both a copy of your payment history and a copy of your initial signed contact.  If you have any questions for me, or I may be of service, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail, telephone, or otherwise at the contact information at the top of this letter.  Thank-you for your prompt and dispassionate attention to this matter.



                                                                     Merlinus Monroe

Cc:     File                                                  Attorney At-Law

Enclosures (Payment History; initial Attorney-Client Agreement;                              payment-term modification letter; non-certified                                        request for payment arrangement)


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