thread: 2012-03-06 : Chad Underkoffler: Freelancing for RPGs

On 2012-03-07, JustinDJacobson wrote:

>>Oh, I think I get it. So if I'm trying to get $1000 out of a company with troubles, the attorney is going to take one look and know it ain't happening. "Sorry kid. Next." Is that it?<


Well, it depends on the lawyer. I've certainly taken cases at $1,000 and even less. If we can get collection without suit, i.e., based just on letters and calls, that works fine. Doesn't happen routinely, but it does happen.

The problem arises when you can't get paid without suit. Are you going to file suit on a $750 claim if you have to pay, say, $250 in court costs to do it. Yes, you can ultimately recover those costs from the debtor, assuming you can collect. But you have to lay it out in the first instance, and there is no guarantee of recovery.

Then, there is the decision of whether the attorney would take that claim for suit. Where I would take a claim for collection, I generally do not file suit on cases less than $2,000. Here's the big kicker though: I will file suit on a smaller balance if the claim is based on a contract that includes a provision for attorneys' fees. This means that I, as the attorney, can get paid for my time from the debtor as part of the damages. In that instance, the amount of the claim is not such a big barrier.

So, among other things, I always recommend you include a fee provision in your contract. I posted a sample contract on

my blog so you can see what I'm talking about.


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