OBTAINING JUDGMENTS WITHOUT WITNESSES AT TRIALS
Over the years, with only one exception here or there, the attorney network of Williams & Williams, Inc. consistently obtains judgments without the need of sending client witnesses to testify. How does WWI accomplish this? The answer is in the Legal Collection Strategies, which we employ.
Many commercial collection attorneys file suit and then request a trial date. This is not the procedure employed by the commercial collection attorneys we utilize in the WWI network.
Our clients make sound business decisions to file suit after first weighing the facts, economic considerations and recommendations. After the debtor is served with a Summons and Complaint, if no answer is filed, your attorney is instructed by this office to take a default judgment. If the debtor attorney files an Answer, we instruct your attorney to respond by starting the Discovery process by directing a set of questions (Interrogatories and Request for Admissions) to the debtor to answer. This requires the debtor’s attorney to “start the billing clock running,” as the debtor will need legal assistance to answer the Discovery requests.
In many cases, the debtor’s answer to the original Summons and Complaint is a “General Denial,” i.e. “I don’t owe the money” or “the product was no good,” etc. In most states, this response is unacceptable. Discovery forces the debtor to quickly respond with elaborate detailed Answers. If Answers are inadequate or no Answers are forthcoming to the Interrogatories and Requst for Admissions, then your attorney is instructed to file a Motion for Summary Judgment.
The Motion for Summary Judgment is the equivalent of communicating to the Court that the debtor filed a “General Denial”, without a more specific answer, the debtor’s “General Denial” should be dismissed, and Judgment entered for our client. The Summary Judgment Motion requires a “Responding Certification” from the debtor, which is a “specialized Answer.” This means more work on the part of the debtor’s attorney, as a “General Denial” type of response is inadequate. This maneuver forces the debtor’s attorney to appear in court for “oral arguments” before the judge. This necessitates prep work on the part of the debtor’s attorney, which includes meeting with the debtor, drafting the “Responding Certification,” filing an opposing Motion to our Motion for Summary Judgment and, of course, a court appearance. The result is three to ten hours of billable time on the part of the debtor’s attorney. Some court jurisdictions require a mandatory “non-binding arbitration hearing,” which adds another three to four additional hours to the debtor’s defense bill.
Let’s examine the debtor’s economics of the process that we have described up to this point. There are between eight to ten billable hours at a rate of $165 to $195 per hour. This may cost Mr. Debtor in excess of $2,000.00 before a trial. This approach is not extraordinary or heroic but rather a sound fundamental way to obtain a Judgment without the necessity of a trial or a witness. The commercial collection attorneys utilized by Williams & Williams, Inc. charge on a contingency basis only. Accordingly, no expense is incurred, with the exception of a nominal suit fee, which in many instances, we are successful in having the suit fee held contingent upon collection.
The easiest strategy to employ, which is not a part of the Williams & Williams, Inc. program, would be if a commercial collection attorney files suit on behalf of a client and then sets up a trial date without taking the steps described in our process. Our approach provides our clients with the best cost-effective avenue for obtaining a Judgment against a debtor. The process itself presents formidable obstacles that the debtor must overcome. Sometimes, the debtor fails to respond to a Motion or the debtor may concentrate on a Motion and forget about the Interrogatories and Request for Admissions, which can lead to the dismissal of the defendant’s General Denial Answer, resulting in a Judgment for our client.
Williams & Williams, Inc. delivers the highest net proceeds possible, compared to all other agencies in the industry. In part, this is accomplished because we achieve results by keeping out clients’ out-of-pocket expenses to an absolute minimum and, at the same time through legal strategies, force the debtor to capitulate.
Some commercial collection attorneys request trial fees in addition to suit fees. This is just another angle of trying to put more money in the attorney’s pocket. Williams & Williams, Inc. will not utilize attorneys who charge trial fees. Filing suit and then setting a trial date followed by a request for “trial fees,” in our opinion, is a lazy ineffective strategy that we will never endorse or condone.
If you have any questions about legal strategies, please contact the offices of Williams & Williams, Inc.