This post is focused on answering the question of who can enforce
my judgment. Not everyone has legal authority to enforce my judgment.
I don’t want to mess up by letting someone work to enforce my
judgment if they aren’t supposed to.
Generally the answer to this question is similar
in most jurisdictions, but there are important differences in some
states. Nobody wants to get in trouble with a judge. Obviously it
pays to be clear about the state statutes where my judgment will
It is legal for my attorney to pursue collecting
my judgment for me. If I have an agreement for him do the enforcement
work on contingency. I have seen lawyers charge anywhere upwards
of 30% of the amount collected as their fee. They may add some additional
fees or expenses to their charges. In my opinion, most attorneys
prefer not to accept judgment enforcing on behalf of their client
if they will be paid on a contingency.
More often an attorneys will want to be paid on
an hourly basis if they are to attempt to collect a judgment for
their clients. Unless my money judgment is for a fairly substantial
amount, or the judgment debtor is very easy to collect from, it
would cost me too much money to pay attorney rates for judgment
enforcement. Rates vary from lawyer to lawyer but it is common to
be charged anywhere from $100 to $500 per hour.
Most lawyers who specialize in litigation are more
interested in working hard to win a law suit and secure a money
judgment for their clients. From my experience I find very few attorneys
who are as interested in collecting the money judgment unless it
is a fairly easy one to collect.
Generally collection agencies are limited in the
enforcement tactics they can legally use in trying to collect my
judgment. They are most often known for writing collection letters
or calling them. They might threaten to put my judgment on the judgment
debtor’s credit report. They are more limited in what collection
and enforcement tools they can use compared to what my lawyer can
Most judgments in the United States can be assigned
or sold to a third party for collection. People who purchase judgments
are sometimes referred to as judgment enforcers or people in the
business of judgment recovery. If for some reason I don’t
want to do my own collection efforts, then a judgment enforcer might
agree to take ownership of my judgment. The normal purchase price
for a judgment is around 50% of what is collected. The problem is
that once a judgment is assigned to someone else, I don’t
own it any more. I have absolutely no say so about it. If the person
I sell my judgment to is not successful for whatever reason, I may
not have any recourse in the matter. There are a number of very
qualified and successful judgment enforcers in this country. Some
of them do great work which leads to many happy law suit winners
finally getting paid. It is difficult to know in advance whether
or not a particular judgment enforcer is going to do a good job
so that we both can make some money.
Nobody is likely to be as interested in the outcome
of collecting my judgment as I am. I trust me more than I trust
anyone else when it comes to enforcing my judgment. If I can be
successful collecting my own judgment, I won’t have to share
any of the money I collect with someone else. I prefer to handle
enforcement on my own.
There are a number good and legitimate reasons for
a person to use an attorney or judgment enforcer to collect a judgment.
I want to make sure that my judgment is being enforced by someone
who has a legal right to do so. It is good to know that I have options.
I know who can enforce my judgment. One thing is for sure, I always
expect my choice to lead to satisfaction for me and money in my