Sometimes I get phone calls that really just make me shake my head.
Now I don’t talk to these lawyers with the alleged bad behavior so sometimes some of the things they are doing can be explained away.  But a recent caller to my office told me that his case had gone to trial and the Arbitrator had awarded him 40% loss of the man as a whole.
I never even heard what the case was about because that is not why the worker was calling, but it sounds like the attorney did a good job at the trial.
The reason he was calling me is that it had been almost 40 days since the Arbitrator rendered his decision and he hasn’t been paid yet.  His lawyer told him that it could be another 60 days or more until the check arrives.
When you go to trial, each side has 30 days to file a notice of appeal.  Once that 30 days has passed, if you haven’t filed then you are stuck with whatever the Arbitrator awards.
What I told the caller was that if I don’t want the other side to appeal then I won’t call them to see what they are going to do until more than 30 days have passed.  If I don’t care if they are going to appeal, I’ll tell them that we aren’t either so they can just go ahead and pay now.
But once the 30 days has passed, there is no reason to not call them up and say “when should I expect the check?”  The caller to my office said he asked his current representation to call the defense lawyer, but was told that he wasn’t going to do that because “he didn’t want to upset the other side.”
What???????  If you are worried about not upsetting someone, it should be your own client.  You don’t have to call them and be an a-hole or unprofessional.  You can and should call and ask what is going on and when the check should be expected.  Who cares if the defense attorney is mad that a lawyer is doing their job.  That’s their problem, not my problem and it certainly should not be your problem.
If 30 days has passed since the appeal deadline and they won’t tell me when the check is coming, I’d file a petition for penalties and fees.  That should more than give the nudge needed to cut the check.
I don’t think some attorneys realize that not being paid can cause real harm to their clients including getting kicked out of a home and bankruptcy.  We can’t always avoid this collateral damage, but we should certainly try to if we can.  And being worried about someone who is not your client b being upset is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a long time.  And it’s too bad because it seems as if this firm did a really good job at the trial.  But this bad experience is going to be what the client remembers from working with them.