I was coaching a client today. She pulled at my heart strings by telling me the problems she is having with several of her clients who owe her money, big sums of money.

One of the clients paid her $37,000 two weeks ago and already owes her another $27,000. After complaining about some of the services and getting a $5,000 reduction in billing, he has not yet committed to a date certain for payment of this amount. Oh, yes, you guessed part of it. "The check went out last week."

Should she continue working for this client? My advice was to review your file to make sure it’s clean and not susceptible of negligence claims, make one last effort to collect by telling the client he has to pay what is owed within 7 days or you will file a motion to withdraw because the client has not honored his agreement commitments, and then be sure you are far enough away from trial to have sucha motion granted.

Bottom line, however, while you are taking care of your client, you must take care of yourself! If, while focusing attention on the client’s issues, you ignore your own billings and accounts receivable, you will lose the respect of the client, you will not get paid the full amount owed to you, and you will not get more referrals from this client.  Lawyer Beware!