Have a lawyer, but uncertain of services rendered so far. Tricky, complicated situation - more details inside!
posted by dubious_dude to law & government (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Disclaimer: I know you're not my lawyer, you can't 100% guarantee the answer you give will be guaranteed to help or be the best solution, yada yada.
So, about two years ago, I discovered I owed a company a large amount of money ($35,000). The original lawyer representing me bowed out when said company refused to forfeit the $35,000 collection, and I tried fighting the company on my own without much success. The company eventually sent my bill to a debt collection firm (Javitch), who then threatened a lawsuit. This was much earlier this year. Frantically, I searched for and found a lawyer who had 100% positive reviews on Avvo.com (a lawyer rating website). At first, I was skeptical (was this too good to be true?), but I checked this lawyer out via a few other websites, and he seemed legit enough. So, I pulled the trigger, had him represent me, and try to clear things up to avoid me being sued. This lawyer was unable to get the specific information/circumstances leading up to the $35,000 bill (such as an itemized list) from both Javitch and from the original company, and basically ended up in a ping-pong war. My lawyer tried to negotiate the $35,000 down to $3,000, which, IMHO, I thought was a bit too low, but maybe going in lowball was better. Clearly, this did not go anywhere, and the lowest from the original $35,000 Javitch was willing to negotiate down to was $26,250. My lawyer was aware of the circumstances leading up to the $35,000 and why it was unfair to me, and tried explaining that to Javitch to no avail.
From that point on, my lawyer recommended that he just terminate representation of the case and that I lay low and wait until/if they sue me. As the original situation that eventually led to the $35,000 bill happened more than three years ago (the bill for $35,000 was issued in very late 2011), he said that he doubted they would sue me, and that the statue of limitations would most likely expire four years after the original incident. He said he did not want to waste any more of my money. However, I had a few doubts because: a) going in lowball is one thing, but he went in REALLY lowball; Javitch probably just laughed him away; b) I want peace of mind. This has been hanging over my head, and I want it resolved; and c) what if he has an agenda: knowing they probably will sue me (contrary to what he told me), and knowing he'd make money out of me?
I suggested we try and meet Javitch halfway by offering $13,000 as a final offer, and he said this was strongly against his advice, and that Javitch made it seem like the previous $26,250 offer was the best and final offer for the time being. He also said it was best to let 'sleeping dogs lie'. However, my school of thinking was that Javitch may take us more seriously if we offered $13,000, which seems more reasonable than the original $3,000 offered by my lawyer.
Another relatively minor thing that bothers me about my lawyer is that sometimes his grammar isn't 100% the best, and he can take a bit of time responding. He was the cheapest lawyer I could find, but the reviews really raved about him, so it was a difficult decision to make. I'm just afraid I'm going at this wrong, or it's just my worrying getting the best of me, and this is the correct/best solution. I'm just not sure if I should stick with him and/or find another lawyer, or to go ahead and offer the $13,000 as a final offer. Obviously, I don't expect any of you to make the decision or tell me what to do, but sharing everything with a neutral/outside party really helps, and would give me some perspective, especially with those of you experienced in debt cases/who have experienced fighting large amounts of debt. Any questions or clarification needed are welcome.