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    Re: deadbeat family member

    Posted by Carol on 5/01/06

    On 4/28/06, Steven wrote:
    > Dear All:
    > I am working at a law firm, but occasionally do some
    > moonlighting (minor legal work for friends, family). This
    > is ok with my firm.
    > I try not to work with family, but last year my wife's
    > cousin (a young kid) asked me to write a consulting
    > agreement that he would use for someone he was working
    > with, sort of a consultant to procure business for his
    > webdesign company. I usually charge around $220/hr
    > (sometimes more, sometimes less), but promised him
    > and we signed a contract to that effect. I drafted a very
    > professional agreement (6 pages) for him, but he and the
    > other party didn't like it (too long, too complicated),
    > asked me to modify it. I did so, and went back and forth a
    > bunch of times to accomodate them. I was asked to delete
    > various sections (non compete clauses etc), and I
    > reluctantly did so, but advised him of various issues with
    > regards to working with consultants.
    > In all, I spent over 10 hours on this matter. I finally
    > billed him (months after providing the service, because I
    > wanted to give the kid a chance to make money), and from a
    > total of $2400, I billed him $1300, which I thought was a
    > bargain for 10 hours of work.
    > Last month he sent me a nasty email stating that he does
    > not want to pay because he didnt use the complicated
    > contract, and that he didnt get what he asked for, because
    > he wanted a 2 page contract. I explained to him that in
    > order to protect his interest I had to make it longer and
    > cover all the bases, but he didnt agree, stating that he
    > has a right to have crap if he asks for crap.
    > I'm thinking I'll never get my time's worth, which is
    > after all it was a lesson for me not work with family
    > (deadbeats!). But I'd like to close this, and hold my head
    > high, so I wanted to solicit someone's views: do I ask for
    > all the money? do I make him understand I'll sue him if he
    > doesnt pay me? What else would you do?
    Steven, I've been there myself. Defended my cousin in
    several criminal cases. She thinks because we're related I
    should have done it for free. First off, I'd tell him what
    it actually worked out to and that i'd given him almost 50%
    off because he was family. As for the "if I ask for
    crap..." nope, won't fly, it would be malpractice to give
    him crap, you know it and he knows it. Depending on family
    relations I would simply ask him if he works for free. Ask
    him if he buys a car but doesn't drive it, doesn't he still
    have to pay for it? Then (again depending on how close you
    family is or how judgment-proof he is) tell him you'll have
    to resort to the courts to get your money. The alternative:
    ask him how much he thinks 10 hours of labor is worth and
    settle for that. Expensive lesson to learn about family and
    friends. Also, I made the mistake of not sending out monthly
    statements to a couple of clients and they freaked out when
    they got the final bill. I had the same reasons you had,
    wanted to give them time to get the $$ together but that
    didn't matter, now they say they never agreed to so much,
    it's unfair, etc. I love the Lincoln saying, a lawyer's time
    and advice is his stock and trade.

    Posts on this thread, including this one
  • deadbeat family member, 4/28/06, by Steven.
  • Re: deadbeat family member, 5/01/06, by Carol.

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