Pay My Damn Invoice!

Han Bitter Solo Columns, Lawyer 4 Comments

Why do clients believe their attorney’s billing is optional? No, that is not the beginning of some bad joke – its an honest question. If you get your oil changed at the mechanic you have no problem paying. Need  your A/C fixed, pull out that check book. Going to update your kitchen? Here is the down payment. But lawyers are a different breed. Sure I saved you thousand of dollars, or maybe even some time in jail but I guess that is not worthy of tapping into your savings. Here is an example of my latest client billing letter:

March 25, 2013

Regina Mathews
2312 Bitter Way
Jurisprudence, KY 30248

            RE: Rodriguez v. Mathews

Dear Ms. Mathews,

I am writing today to discuss your billing on the above-referenced matter. I am pleased that we were able to resolve this matter in our favor. However, my records indicate that your bill is still unpaid. The total amount due is $610.00. This is my sixth attempt in trying to collect this debt and would appreciate hearing from you on this matter.

Initially you stated payment would be made after our case closed. That was months ago and I have yet to receive payment towards your account. I noticed via your constant Facebook status updates that after the trial you needed “a little retail therapy.” Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need to relax after the ordeal we went through, and you definitely need therapy of some sort, but Sallie Mae doesn’t give two shits that those new heels are “to die for.”

You then stated that you would send payment at the end of the month. However, on January 27, 2013 you sent me an email stating the money was needed for an emergency surgery on your cat. As a dog owner, I understand the need to support your animals. However, you have 15 cats. In the words of the great Ivan Drago, “If he dies, he dies.”

I know you believe that lawyers make a ton of money and that I don’t really need your payment. You would be wrong. Some lawyers make a lot of money but I am not one of those blessed few. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise since I had to drive you to court in my 1999 Geo Metro. Also, when I saw you at the store last month you laughed when I was purchasing R.C. Cola and Natty Light. You, on the other hand, seemed to be doing just fine considering you could afford buying Pepperidge Farm cookies. What are those like $9 for 12 cookies?

If there are any questions or concerns please contact me so that we may remedy them as soon as possible. If you need to enter into a payment plan, please contact me so that we may come to terms for a plan. In fact just let me know if there is any chance I might see some of this money. Even if you aren’t going to pay just let me know. I’m trying to do my budget for the month and I need to know how many Lunchables I can buy.



                                                                                    Han B. Solo

 P.S. I hope you choke on your Milanos.

Post image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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  • Portia

    That’s sad.

  • Lukasz Gos

    I spent yesterday drafting a ToS that says my invoice cannot remain forever in review and what the max aggregate duration is for all persons connected with my invoice being on holiday or medical leave, which, by the way, may not be every single time I ask about an old invoice. It’s probably going to stay in this language.

  • Julie

    Story of my life…. :(

  • d h

    This letter has numerous problems. First, the letter should have the debt collection practice information at the bottom of the letter. Clearly, you are collecting on a past and obviously bad debt as a lawyer against a consumer. Second, the letters should have stopped after the second. The first letter would inform your client of a deadline to either enter into a payment plan or remit the balance in full. The second letter would give the same information except to inform your client you will bring necessary steps to enforce the bill “up to an including notice and opportunity to be heard before the judge”. Lastly, if the case went to court depending on your civil procedure system you would be able to bring a related action under your lien law by filing a motion for attorneys fees/seeking an attachment of property (house) against your client. This is common practice in divorce cases when clients don’t pay and try to discharge the lawyer before completion. If the case didn’t go to court, shame on you for not obtaining a sufficient retainer in the case before engaging the work.