Can I contact a debtor after I hire an attorney to collect for me?

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Can I contact a debtor after I hire an attorney to collect for me?

I work for a construction company. There are a couple of jobs where customers did not pay due to contract disputes. We turned the collection efforts of these jobs over to an attorney. After we turned them over they made contact with the alleged debtor. Is my company allowed to continue to try to contact the debtor – assuming no harassment is occurring and the debtor has not also hired an attorney? I am being told I will not be paid any commission on these jobs because I “failed to actively collect the debt personally even though a lawyer was brought in”.

Asked on February 20, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The general rule about contact between parties to a litigation is that lawyers can not directly contact parties that are represented by counsel and they can not speak with parties who may call them that are represented by counsel.  Lawyers can talk to lawyers and parties can talk to each other.  But the issue that you have brought up regarding commission, does that have to do with your job collecting on the outstanding fees owed? So in essence you are their in house collection agent?  Be careful, then, how you represent yourself and what you do as you have a contract with the attorney who is collecting now.  You may be violating that agreement.    


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