Enforcement of Judgments, Massachusetts. Commercial Collections Attorney, Randi Levine, Boston Massachusetts
Massachusetts Enforcement of Judgements, Business Litigation Attorney, Randi Levine, Boston Massachusetts

Professional Fee Disputes - Unpaid Legal Fees

In the course of my legal career, I have handled many claims for unpaid professional fees and in particular unpaid legal fees.  I have and do represent a range of law firms from major Boston law firms to sole practitioners.
Although there are many circumstances where the best choice for an attorney is to walk away from the claim, after careful screening, one can identify claims that should be pursued.  Where there are no grounds for a counterclaim (malpractice or unfair and deceptive trade practices), where there is an agreed upon fee arrangement between the parties, and where the former client has sufficient assets to pay, I do not believe that lawyers should allow themselves to go uncompensated for their work. 

Many agreements between lawyers and their clients require that disputes be arbitrated before the Legal Fee Arbitration Board (LFAB) or other dispute resolution body.  While lawyers are often very comfortable proceeding in arbitration without representation, they may not be as comfortable attaching assets and proceeding in court.  I have in two cases, obtained prejudgment security in the Superior Court for legal fee claims pending before the LFAB, thus providing the attorney with significant leverage in the proceeding.

If the former client is experiencing financial difficulties, the lawyer may be “just another creditor” who will need to assert his claim and attempt to obtain priority standing.  If there is to be a bankruptcy filing in the future, the attorney is better off as a secured rather than an unsecured creditor, and better off as a judgment creditor rather than simply a claimant with a stack of unpaid bills.

I have also represented accountants, architects, psychologists and engineers in claims for unpaid professional services.  The issues are similar in that there are professional standards to be upheld and always the threat of a claim of “malpractice”.  The professional must decide if he or she has the confidence in the quality of the work performed to pursue the claim.

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Randi Levine, Attorney at Law   20 Walnut Street, Suite 201   Wellesley, MA 02481
phone: 781 997-1602 | fax: 781-465-6055 | email: randi@randilevine.com