Was it something I said? Communicating with your collections attorney

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If you are placing accounts with a collections attorney for the first time, you might wonder how often you should be in contact with your attorney after placement.

Monthly?

Weekly?

To be clear, attorneys have a responsibility to keep clients reasonably informed about the status of their cases.   Attorneys also must communicate with clients when necessary to make important decisions, such as whether or not to accept settlements.

But what about all the communication that falls in the gray area?

What about those times when your law firm feels it has met the ethical standard of reasonable communication, but you don’t know when the next phone call or e-mail is coming?

Or whether you should be the one to pick up the phone and call?

Some people or companies send accounts to collections because they don’t want to worry about them at all and are quite content to never hear from their attorney, other than receiving the monthly remittance check (the amount the collections attorney has collected on your behalf).

On the other hand, some send accounts to collections because they feel wronged by someone.  Maybe it’s personal.  They want to know that their attorney is actively pursuing that account every day and every hour!

Clients of collection attorneys need to keep two things in mind:

  1. Collection attorneys are most effective when communicating with consumers, next most effective when working in the court system and not effective at all while communicating with the client – unless the client is passing along new and helpful information.

You should try to reach some understanding early on as to how often you will be notified of status updates.  If your attorney’s plan does not seem adequate you should say so at the outset of your relationship so there are no misunderstandings later on.

You should anticipate that most collection attorneys will advise you when important things happen and otherwise will briefly respond to occasional status requests and questions.

Otherwise, after most key events have transpired, you should understand that your attorney will be most interested in attempted collection and remitting to you.

  1. It is also helpful to discuss at the outset of the case your role in the relationship.

Most attorneys will be eager to hear from you when you have information about the whereabouts of your customers or their assets.  Your attorney will want know the limitations on settlements and when you absolutely want to be notified of events.  Aside from that, most attorneys will not seek out your opinion on collection strategies or court room arguments.

It is always appropriate to ask why your attorney is choosing one strategy over another.   You have every right to be informed on your case.

Just keep in mind that time is valuable for everyone – and time spent with you is time not spent working for you!

If you have questions about communications with your collections attorney or have cases you’d like to place with Atkins & Ogle Law Offices, LC, contact us!

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