AdvocateDaily Staff

(Contributor)

Paralegals can help small businesses recover debts

Small businesses that are owed money for their services have another option after a collection agency fails, says Ottawa paralegal Amri Murray. “Rather than writing off certain debts and suffering a loss, small businesses have the option of utilizing the services of a paralegal,” says Murray, principal of AJ Murray Legal Services.

Thanks to 10 years in the collection industry, Murray says she has a good grasp on how the industry works. She says that experience aids her in small claims court litigation. Murray says she’s able to reach a deal to recover the outstanding balance in more than half the cases she tackles — thereby avoiding additional expenses "which come with following the litigation process all the way through."

Sometimes I find that a formal letter coming from a legal services office makes a big difference ,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Murray says some debtors dislike dealing with collection agencies and tend to be more amenable to talking to her.

I’m not too pushy," she says. "I try to be reasonable and I can often reach an agreement with respect to the outstanding debt either just prior to filing with the court or just after litigation has been initiated.

Murray says some small businesses fail because they don’t have the time or resources to go after those who owe them money.

These are the kinds of small businesses that I try to help by recovering what is owed to them,” she says. “I want to help them maintain some cash flow.

Murray credits her success to her collections background and her formal but civil outreach to those owing debts to her clients. “It’s all about being an effective negotiator, how you structure your pre-litigation letter, and, if you do end up in court, how strong of an advocate you are.”

She notes that a paralegal’s monetary jurisdiction is $35,000 in small claims court, making them an ideal choice for many small businesses. “Like many other paralegals, I will sometimes work on a contingency basis,” Murray says. “When we succeed, it’s a win/win situation for everyone, rather than just writing off a debt and suffering that loss.”

She says most small businesses do not have the resources to chase debts, or to hire a lawyer.

Small firms have to be careful with their spending, which is why it’s cost-effective to speak to a paralegal to see what can be done ,” says Murray.

She says she prefers to settle these types of cases, but as a paralegal, she is also able to represent her clients in small claims court if those negotiations fail prior to a trial.