SUIT FEE AND COURT COST EXPLANATION
When an account is referred to an attorney on a contingent basis under the operative guides of the Commercial Law League of America (CLLA), an attorney is entitled to a “Suit Fee” if a credit grantor decides it is in their best interest to file suit. Williams & Williams, Inc. never recommends filing suit in a situation where recovery is unlikely or there are no assets to levy upon. We do not believe in throwing good money after bad.
Typically, an attorney requests a standard 10% Suit Fee to serve as compensation for the attorney as a result of preparing the lawsuit, issuing service, employing a special process server, filing motions for summary judgment, interrogatories and discovery, setting the case for trial, taking depositions, debtor asset examinations, representing the creditor at trial, recording the judgment as a judgment lien. The key to reduce a client’s “out-of-pocket exposure” is to prevail upon the attorney to hold his Suit Fee completely contingent upon recovery or cap the Suit Fee at a reasonable level with the balance of the Suit Fee remaining contingent upon recovery. If a part of the Suit Fee has been forwarded as a non-contingent portion, an additional Suit Fee will not be deducted out until the overall recovery exceeds the initial recovery represented by the advanced non-contingent Suit Fee. Typically, an attorney will charge a 5% non-contingent Suit Fee and a 5% contingent Suit Fee with the contingent part assessed upon recovery. In our program, we keep our client’s out-of-pocket expense and exposure to an absolute minimum. In many areas of the country, our clients can proceed legally on the basis of court costs alone, meaning that all of the Suit Fee is held entirely contingent upon collection. Williams & Williams, Inc. does not participate in the Suit Fee. The Suit Fee is considered an expense to cover the attorney’s administrative costs.
The following is a list of major metropolitan areas, subject to change, where we have been able to prevail upon attorneys in the Williams & Williams, Inc. network to proceed with filing suit on the basis of court costs alone. This means the entire Suit Fee is held contingent upon collection. Those cities are – New York City, Houston TX, Pittsburgh PA, Cleveland OH, Columbus OH and San Francisco CA. We can also obtain the same arrangements in the following states – New Jersey, Wisconsin and Michigan. Throughout the remaining United States, no matter how large a balance might be, we have coast-to-coast representation whereby the non-contingent Suit Fee portion will be “capped between $500.00 and $750.00.”
It sounds unbelievable but where litigation is the most expensive – in New York City and San Francisco CA – we are able to retain counsel whereby on a $200,000.00 account, suit can be filed on the basis of court costs alone.
COURT COSTS AND NON-CONTINGENT SUIT FEE CHECKS MADE PAYABLE TO ATTORNEYS – We quote to you the exact court cost and non-contingent Suit Fee requested by the commercial collection attorney in the WWI attorney network. Next, we ask you to make all court cost checks and Suit Fee checks payable to the attorney that represents your company. Most other agencies and commercial collection companies ask you to make the court costs and Suit Fee check payable to them, as opposed to the commercial collection attorney that files the lawsuit. Why does one way provide a client with more protection than the other? The original quoted figure can be inflated as a “hidden agenda.” Where does the rest go? This is why we always have our clients make the court costs and non-contingent Suit Fee check payable to the commercial collection attorney. This check is always endorsed and cashed by the attorney, which is always evidenced on the reverse side of our client’s cancelled checks. Our procedure eliminates any unnecessary client concerns, as this check does not flow through our trust accounts.