Andrew L. Quiat (“Andy”)

Why Can The Lawyer Who Got My Judgment Not Collect It And Turn It Into Money?


If the lawyer who helped you get a judgment cannot collect that judgment, it’s usually because they don’t know what they’re doing. Now, let’s peel that back like an onion. That is a very difficult question when the lawyer involved is an old trusted friend or a lawyer who you’ve relied upon professionally for a lot of things in your life. I don’t mean to be insulting to anyone; we all have our own areas of expertise. But it’s not uncommon for lawyers to know how to go about getting a judgment, but not know how to collect it. This is an area of highly specialized knowledge. It is an area of what I call the Gestalt- the psychology – of how someone who intentionally has taken large sums of money from you goes about living their life and interacting with humane people like you. Understanding the Gestalt, and how to turn your judgment into the money to which you are entitled, comes from training, experience and temperament, and most lawyers just don’t do this kind of work.

If there is a judgment in favor of my client who against a solvent bank or insurance company, then I am not really needed. Anyone can collect that. That’s easy and usually pretty quick, but not always. If it’s against anyone else- especially someone who has defrauded you out of a million dollars or more, then that’s different. These people are typically very bright, convincing and likeable, which is part of the reason they obtained your trust and confidence in the first place. They create stories and lies, and many of them are sociopaths who don’t even know what the truth is. The moment they tell you something, they really believe it, but it’s just not true. These are all issues that we have to penetrate when dealing with the technical aspects of an asset structure or hidden assets and the involvement of other people they employed. They may have paid the others that they employed, but they usually don’t. Instead, they use them to their own end to own titles to assets or to control assets they keep out of their own names.

These are some of the reasons that the lawyer who obtained the judgement for you is not skilled at turning it into the money that you deserve. In one of the most glaring examples of why the lawyer who obtained the judgment is not successful at turn it into money, there is a typical lawyer who will start by saying, “Let’s bring the debtor in. We’ll sit him down and ask some questions.” In most jurisdictions, we call this a Rule 69 proceeding. It can be by written interrogatory or deposition. In my experience, that’s where the average lawyer starts, but that is not typically where I start. Typically, I will turn to the debtor mid-way through or very near to the end of an organized and conscious course of conduct or strategy to recover assets. Now, you ask what is the strategy and how do I know? That often depends upon the pain tolerance level of the debtor. This is part of what I mean by the Gestalt of the judgment debtor who owes you money. Not only is the lawyer going to do the realization for you upon your judgment, but they are also going to need to understand the mindset of the debtor. I hope that answers your questions. If not, give me a call.

Why Can Regular Lawyers Not Collect The Large Amount Of Money I Am Due?

I don’t know what a regular lawyer is. We all have our gifts and our areas of expertise. The short answer is that if a lawyer cannot collect a judgment, it’s because they aren’t skilled at it. I have spoken about this in the question above. The same answer applies to small and large judgments. Other than that, the only other reason would be if you have someone with a low dollar amount, a debtor who struggles from paycheck to paycheck or someone who just doesn’t have the money or assets. This is especially true in medical collections and consumer areas. But if an honest debtor hasn’t been laid off their job and they have the money, they pay it or work out a payment plan with you. That’s not the kind of judgment that I go after.

Do the rules change when the number of zeros grows? The answer to this question has a very lawyer-like answer: yes and no. We have a doctrine in the legal world called proportionality, which is meant in terms of how much time, trouble and expense the judge will allow one side to put upon the other. Specifically, that amount has to be proportionate to the amount that’s involved in the case. For example, you don’t want to spend $100,000 and time and energy on either side over a $10,000 case. Yet, when you get to these large cases with complicated asset structures, you have to do a lot of work to unearth that. You can line it up so that you can be in a position to get a court to tell you that you may seize a particular asset, liquidate it and apply it to the judgement. So, the large amount of money does have an impact on how you do things. If you have specific questions beyond that, give me a call.

Part of what we do in a particular case is to understand your particular circumstances and decide the best approach to realizing the conversion of your judgment into money. We decide how we are going to set up a structure where we regularly, periodically and mutually assess our progress. If what we thought was a good asset suddenly presents too many hurdles, or if a better asset is presented, then we will decide whether or not it’s wise to shift the priority. All of this is under your control. These are just some of the reasons why a large amount of money is somewhat different to go about collecting than a small amount of money.

For more information on Collecting Money From A Judgment, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (303) 471-8560 today.

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