Ethical violation for Attorney to fail to pay contractor in NY?

Asked almost 2 years ago - New York, NY

I wrote web content for an attorney's law practice in NY. However, after about a month since completing the work that attorney is no longer taking my calls or emails and has not paid. I would like to file a complaint against the attorney, but I need a little guidance on what basis of law I could bring it under.

Additional information

I know I have a breach of contract action, but It is not worth it to bring a small claims action because I live in California, the attorney is in NY though. I was hoping that NY had a vague rule that attorneys needed to act in means consistent with truth as they do in CA so I could bring a grievance under that rule.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Joseph Jonathan Brophy

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you are asking about a grievance, an attorney's failure to pay a bill is not considered professional misconduct, and the grievance committee would most likely decline to act on your complaint. What you really have is a breach of contract action which you can file in court.

    Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to... more
  2. Jayson Lutzky


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Small claims court in NYC is up to $5,000 dollars. Above that amount NYC Civil Court would apply.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate... more
  3. Brandy Ann Peeples


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your attorney breached a contract to pay for web services. File a small claim action against the attorney under a breach of contract claim or unjust enrichment claim.

    DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided... more
  4. Jennifer L. Ellis


    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Not generally an ethical failure. Tell you what though, I do some web design work from time to time as a consultant, and I have run into this issue. And oooh it just chaps my you know what.

    When it comes to collecting, when you don't want to sue, the best thing to do is become a pest. We can charitably hope that the attorney is down on his luck and unable to pay your bill right now. So letters, emails and phone calls, all under appropriate collection laws, of course. You would just have to be patient and see what happens.

    Filing in small claims court isn't that expensive, but if you are talking about something under 1k, you are right, not worth the hassle.

    Another option, if you are just looking to show the lawyer that you don't appreciate being stiffed is to go the 1099 route. Essentially you forget about the debt and report it as income to the business. I put a link below for you that gives you an idea what I am talking about. It is Cancellation of Debt Form 1099 C.

    For a free consultation related to medical malpractice, personal injury, workers' compensation, social security... more

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