This week in Young, Hungry & Committed, virtual office NYC attorney explores her evil side by collecting on judgments against debtors.
If I did not pursue law, I think I would have been a detective (cue the Law and Order clunk clunk).
I do mostly commercial litigation, typically defending businesses that have been sued for various reasons.
But I also have this little practice niche where I collect on judgments. Frankly, it may be that part of my practice that I enjoy doing most.
I was drawn to commercial litigation because I love the strategy of it. The paperwork that comes along with it (that I am currently mired down in) I could do without. But I love the negotiation. I love the trial prep. I love being in court.
I feel like it was my calling in life.
I enjoy doing the judgment enforcement work for all those reasons and one more: it gives me an opportunity to explore my “evil” side.
Honestly, it surprises me at how few attorneys know how to collect on their judgments. Most of my work comes from other law firms. This is good for me: I end up having all the fun!
And what’s fun about it is that judgment enforcement encompasses everything I like about litigation – the strategy and investigation – but unlike pre-judgment litigation, you get near total carte blanche when it comes to seizing a debtor’s assets.
Once you have a judgment, the rules are not in the debtor’s favor, and you can (basically) do whatever you want to find and collect assets.
– I have frozen bank accounts;
– I have sued the parents and children of debtors who have transferred their assets unlawfully;
– I will subpoena all the debtor’s friends, family, family or business partners who I think may have information about the debtor’s assets.
You can create an immense amount of pressure on a debtor to pay. Pressure that only a true sociopath wouldn’t feel (and I have dealt with those).
I do not really feel badly about this.
Ask any debt collector and they will tell you about the amazing lengths people will go to to shirk their responsibilities to creditors (or the court for that matter).
I have an old friend who is a straight-up degenerate (yes I just said that, and yes, I still have friends who, for the most part, keep life interesting). He had a judgment against him and was stashing money in his younger cousin’s bank account.
I had to put the fear of God in him. I told him that his cousin could get sued to recover his money and that, if I were on that case, I would take pleasure in doing so.
Debtors who have judgments against them are sneaky. This gets me into the mindset of a detective who’s chasing down a perp: “you may be sneaky, but I’m sneakier”.
When doing an investigation on these cases it’s a little like going down the rabbit hole. You never know what you will find.
I’m going to be on your social media pages.
I’m going to find out who your family and friends are.
I’ll know what real estate you own.
I’ll know what UCC filings you have.
I’m going to find out what businesses you’re involved with.
I will get into your head and find out where every penny you’ve hidden is located.
I will subpoena everyone. I will sue whomever I have to.
I will be relentless.
I will get the judgment paid.
And I will love every minute of it.
Vivian Sobers does what she loves.
Not doing so is one of the 7 Deadly Mistakes that prevent law practice growth.
Vivian Sobers is a commercial litigator pursuing a solo law practice right out of law school. She is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Virtual Office Program. Vivian’s weekly blog series “Young, Hungry and Committed” documents the trials and tribulations of a young attorney navigating her way through the challenging world of self-employed legal practice.