Law Tips: A to D of Keeping the Case Flowing Smoothly

Thanks for returning to Law Tips. Why don’t we talk about helping the court help you and staying in control of your case.

Last week I was able to bring you an interesting list of tips for Discovering Assets in Collections cases as contributed by ICLEF faculty member, Christine Hayes Hickey. I would like to supplement that information with Ms. Hickey’s helpful hints on systems and procedures that are most effective in keeping your collections practice flowing smoothly.

Based on her extensive experience, Chris shares considerations on how to handle the volume in your practice in a quality manner. Come to think of it, after reading the outline below, see if you would agree that, broadly speaking, these points engender good advice when applied in a number of other practices. She says to: “Document…Help the Court Help you…Pay Attention to Detail…Stay In Control of Your Case.” Let’s look at her necessary ingredients for a systematic process:

A. Document Document Document
Get everything in writing. That includes client settlement authority, authority to dismiss cases if necessary, and especially everything related to agreements with debtors. Document conversations and put in writing everything the debtor is required to do, from payment dates to document production.

B. Help the Court Help You
There is no substitute for knowing the courts in which you practice. Maintain a database of requirements for each court to help your cases flow smoothly and prevent filings from being held or rejected. Help the judges grant the relief which you seek; provide them with good pleadings and legal support for your position.

C. Pay Attention to Detail
There is no such thing as “unimportant” in collections. Pay attention to detail, such as how your debtor answers the phone, what name is on the check, and those “little things” that slip out of debtors’ mouths. Be a good listener. Let debtors talk. Be attentive to every name the debtor has used, no matter how slight the variation; when documents were signed in relation to creation or dissolution of an entity; and who is paying whose debts and why. Often, the devil’s not in the details but the dollars are.

D. Stay in Control of Your Case
Above all else, stay in control of your case. The prize at the end of the day is not the promise of payment, the agreement to agree, or the “check is in the mail.” By creating systems and procedures that allow you to handle volume, produce a quality product, and move your case forward, you stand a greater chance of being the first one to the assets.  That is, after all, what collections is all about.

Thanks to Christine Hayes Hickey for her participation in Law Tips and for her contributions to the legal profession in Indiana through ICLEF. Her comprehensive CLE presentation on “Practical Systems and Procedures for a Collection Practice” is available as part of ICLEF’s CLE seminar, Collections: Tips for Going Green,” which is available throughout Indiana as a Video Replay Seminar or online as an On Demand Seminar, by Clicking Here.

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About our Law Tips faculty contributor:
Christine Hayes Hickey is the managing partner of the Indianapolis law firm Rubin & Levin, P.C., where she concentrates her practice in the areas of commercial litigation, commercial collections, and creditors’ rights. Chris currently serves on the Executive Council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, the Indiana E-Filing Rules Committee, and serves as co-Chair of the IndyBar Review. She graduated in 1993 from the Robert H. McKinney School of Law, magna cum laude, and has been selected to the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women LawyersTM, Super Lawyers. She is the only female attorney certified in Indiana in the area of Creditor’s Rights by the American Board of Certification. Chris is a frequent speaker and author on collections and creditors’ rights topics.

About our Law Tips blogger:
Nancy Hurley, Law Tips blogger, has long-standing connections with Indiana lawyers. She was formerly a member of the ISBA and IBF staffs for over 30 years. Nancy’s latest lifestyle venture is with ICLEF. We are utilizing her exceptional writing and interviewing skills while exploring how her Indiana-lawyer background fits with ICLEF’s needs. When she isn’t ferreting out new topics for Law Tips, her work can be found in our Speaker Spotlight blogs, postings on the ICLEF Facebook and Twitter pages, and other places her legal experience lends itself.

Thank you for reading Law Tips. You may subscribe to this weekly blog through the RSS link at the top of this page.  Also, you are encouraged to comment below or email Nancy   She welcomes your input as she continues to sift through the treasure trove of knowledge of our CLE faculty to share with you on Law Tips.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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