By Eigbe Alright Osajie, Esq.
Dear Young Lawyer,
We don’t get paid much, and life seems to always want, more than what we earn, so here is a simple advise in ensuring you don’t touch client’s money (one of the major things that always puts us in lawyer-client troubles):
1. Always ensure that the initial deposit the client is paying covers the initial work you are to do. If it is CAC, PATENT, COPYRIGHT, PROBATE etc matters, ensure that the initial deposit covers all your online payment including some change for your data and other things.
2. Once the money enters, before other financial temptation enters, ensure you use the _capital_ on the client’s work on that same day.
If it is CAC, file one nonsense application so that they would query it, then you can now sit down later to file the proper thing.
Better still, have a separate account where you transfer client’s capital into, and the profit remains with you
As much as you can, to save yourself from unnecessary temptation, never hold a client’s money for more than 3 days. By the 4th day, you head will start telling you that you can use it and easily pay it back. Uncle, experience should tell you that it isn’t as easy as it echoes.
3. Don’t collect the bulk of the profit until you have finished the work.
I suggest this so that when your profit comes, you would have it as profit, not money you still have to spend on the work.
Eg. I charge clients 15k for Business Names (averagely), but collect 10k. You pay the balance 5k when/before picking the certificate. So I am certain of a clean and clear 5k separate from other profits made from the 10k.
4. Ensure that clients give you all the information you need to start their job in not more than 24hours after they have paid you. I have entered financial issues like that; clients giving me the details I needed after about 2 months of paying for the services.
When it comes to litigation, abeg, share your profit with the capital. If you leave your profit till the last, the client may never pay. I suggest you even collect all your fees (as much as possible) before filing the final written address.
My name is Earl, and I am Alright.