One of the areas where our firm really excels – and it’s an area that I don’t have a lot to do with, so my beaming sense of pride is socially acceptable – is in the area of collections. Whether it be in making sure you get paid for the work you do at the outset, on an ongoing basis, or after some deadbeat has tried to get you to do something for nothing; in all areas we do good things.
This last area is what I’m going to talk about today. Although Inga preaches 30-60-90 Sue™ like a preacher from the old time gospel hour, we often don’t even hear from clients until a debt is well past due and all internal attempts at collection have been met with failure. Any firm worth its salt can take on a matter at this point and set the normal chain of litigation events in motion – but what Inga and Paul and Murray do, is a little bit different, and a little bit special. They actually plan out the course of events that are going to transpire and give clients an honest appraisal about the reality of not only getting a judgment on the debt, but of ultimately collecting on that judgment. Our mantra being that a paper judgment doesn’t benefit anyone – even us – sure you’ve paid our fees, but we’ve given you no value for that and you probably won’t be a client for very long.
Collecting on judgments can be as simple as enforcing a payment plan or as complicated as seeking a court order to go after hidden assets, fraudulently conveyed assets, or playing a shell game of find the assets among a bunch of numbered companies set up to evade creditors.
The last one is particularly challenging, but we’re pretty capable people. For example, in the recent case of Pitney Bowes of Canada Ltd. v. Belmonte, Inga sought an order from the court allowing us to go after a debtor’s other corporations, after proving that they were established solely for the purpose of trying to avoid paying our clients what they owed them under a lease. In that case, the debtor figured that transferring assets to a spouse, and ultimately to newly formed corporations, who were not party to the original debt, would somehow magically defeat his responsibility to pay our client. The debtor was wrong. The case is a particularly excellent example of our founder being out in the trenches, kicking ass and taking names, and setting a great example not only for us, but for other firms who work in collections law.
Scott R. Young