I am a creative professional that's been having a lot of trouble getting paid by one of my clients - What are my options?

Asked almost 2 years ago - New York, NY

Client is an arrogant individual with a history of late and delinquent payment - I have outstanding invoices which go back 10 months. The amount he owes me is nothing compared to some of my colleagues, one of which he owes over 300k. I'm afraid that he's stockpiling profits before going out of business and with each passing day my window to take action is closing.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Edwin Drantivy

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 1. Sue immediately, or

    2. Retain an attorney and sue immediately, or

    3. Do nothing.

  2. Yefim Rubinov

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hire a lawyer right away without further delay.

  3. Jayson Lutzky


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Do nothing or hire an attorney right away. Waiting is not getting you paid.

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  4. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This sounds like a contract issue, not an ethics issue. I've shared your question with Avvo's contracts law forum, where your question may be seen by more attorneys who practice in this area of the law. I suggest you re-post in the New York contracts forum because contact law varies from state to state.

    twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the... more
  5. Kerry Blasingim

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yup. You absolutely need to either hire an attorney and file suit or file a pro se suit in small claims, depending on the amount in controversy. Your only other options are to wait it out or just write the debt off as uncollectable. Which is never something a freelancer wants to see happen.

    In the future, you may want to start asking this client for partial up-front payments (or full up-front payments) to offset his tendency to not pay in a timely fashion. Or, you know, just STOP WORKING FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T PAY YOU.

    No information you obtain from this answer is legal advice, nor is it intended to be. You should consult an... more
  6. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In addition to my colleague's suggestions, if by "creative" you mean that for a fee you provide the client with copyrightable things [logos, designs, photographs, etc. etc.] then one option is to have your own copyright attorney explain to the client that his failure to pay breaches your agreement to transfer to him the copyright in those things or a copyright license to use those things. If those things are vital to his business, but you alone have the right to use them, then threatening to sue him for his use will get his attention right quick. Speak with an intellectual property attorney. Good luck.

    The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and... more

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Intellectual property and small business

Intellectual property law and small business encompasses patents, trademarks, or copyrights to protect your company ideas or inventions.

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