Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

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Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:44 pm

Background: I'm a second-year law student. I recently took a temporary law clerk position with the partner of a mid-sized regional firm to make some extra money for rent. When I was hired, he told me he expected 20 hours a week, at $20 an hour. I said that was doable. After I was hired, he changed it to 20 hours in 5 days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, MLK day). I said it was fine, and worked throughout the long weekend for him. As I neared the 20-hour mark, he started asking for more hours, and called me during hours of the day I specifically told him I would not be home. I answered when I could. He was not happy I was not at my computer during the times he called.

The work: He sent me a spreadsheet (about 2000x1000 cells) and told me to fill in the cells. Each of the rows pertained to a contract 70-100 pages long. He wanted me to review them at a pace of 15 minutes each. Again, I'm a 2L, not a 3rd year associate. By the evening of MLK day, he asked me how many I had finished. I said ~ 60. He said that was not helpful; he expected 500. I told him 500 was not doable, even if I didn't sleep and skipped all my classes. I then sent him what I had, along with a billing invoice.

He responded to my work product, but has not responded to my invoice. I tried calling him this morning to confirm he had received the invoice. I could not reach him. When I was working for him, he always answered my calls. Should I keep waiting? Or should I do something else? I would prefer to avoid problems.

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Tanicius
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Tanicius » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:47 pm

Sounds like he owes you 400 bucks. Take him to small claims and just don't bother listing him as a reference in the future.

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fats provolone
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby fats provolone » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:13 pm

what a dick

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Young Marino
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Young Marino » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:09 pm

#FirmLife ?

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sam91
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby sam91 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:43 pm

Tanicius wrote:Sounds like he owes you 400 bucks. Take him to small claims and just don't bother listing him as a reference in the future.


The only thing i would worry about this is come character & fitness time he could be a pain in the ass.

badaboom61
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby badaboom61 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:59 pm

sam91 wrote:
Tanicius wrote:Sounds like he owes you 400 bucks. Take him to small claims and just don't bother listing him as a reference in the future.


The only thing i would worry about this is come character & fitness time he could be a pain in the ass.


It definitely could be a pain, and you might have to respond to some questions from the bar examiners about it, although based on what you've described I don't see how anyone could view a pay dispute with a former employer as impacting your fitness to practice law, especially if you have other legal employers who can vouch for you.

Is the $400 bucks less the time and effort spent trying to collect it worth more than the possible headache he could give you down the road? Personally I would think that amount is so small that's its not worth pursuing, although it might be more about the principle of the thing.

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Aeon
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Aeon » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:He responded to my work product, but has not responded to my invoice. I tried calling him this morning to confirm he had received the invoice. I could not reach him. When I was working for him, he always answered my calls. Should I keep waiting? Or should I do something else? I would prefer to avoid problems.


I would give him the benefit of the doubt. It's been less than two weeks since you completed the work, and he might be swamped with other matters. Also, you did the work at the beginning of the second January pay period, which just ended yesterday. Wait a couple more days. If you don't hear from him, try contacting him again (e-mail might be better than a phone call, or you can call first and then e-mail). Though it's not ideal, if all else fails, try going through his secretary.

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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:33 pm

If it's only been a week are you sure you're not overreacting? The idea he'll try to screw you out of $400 you worked for at the risk of sanctions or just personal decency is a pretty intense accusation. It's likelier the $400 don't matter to him. If you were that cash strapped who would you screw over? The overeager law student who'll call the state bar association, or Bill with Cablevision?

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:37 pm

These are the kind of wonderful people you get to work with when you're a lawyer! What a great profession!

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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:40 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:If it's only been a week are you sure you're not overreacting? The idea he'll try to screw you out of $400 you worked for at the risk of sanctions or just personal decency is a pretty intense accusation. It's likelier the $400 don't matter to him. If you were that cash strapped who would you screw over? The overeager law student who'll call the state bar association, or Bill with Cablevision?


Puhleeze like the cheapo thinks the terrified 2L is going to report him to state bar? Give me a break. He sounds cheap and shady calling OP like he/she is on-call. OP: Where did you find this posting? Symplicity? I'd talk to your career services office to see if they can act as an intermediary. Email him again asking for confirmation of receipt of invoice and call him again on Monday. If he doesn't reply to by end of day then I'd ask career services to step in. Don't just do nothing and let him take advantage of your weak position. Get the money he owes you.

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Tanicius
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Tanicius » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:If it's only been a week are you sure you're not overreacting? The idea he'll try to screw you out of $400 you worked for at the risk of sanctions or just personal decency is a pretty intense accusation. It's likelier the $400 don't matter to him. If you were that cash strapped who would you screw over? The overeager law student who'll call the state bar association, or Bill with Cablevision?


Puhleeze like the cheapo thinks the terrified 2L is going to report him to state bar? Give me a break. He sounds cheap and shady calling OP like he/she is on-call. OP: Where did you find this posting? Symplicity? I'd talk to your career services office to see if they can act as an intermediary. Email him again asking for confirmation of receipt of invoice and call him again on Monday. If he doesn't reply to by end of day then I'd ask career services to step in. Don't just do nothing and let him take advantage of your weak position. Get the money he owes you.


Also start documenting everything, including when you call and email him and what you say in your voicemails and emails. This will mean you have less work to do if for some C&F does get involved.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Desert Fox » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:11 pm

I hate myself but 60 after 5 days sucks.

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Young Marino
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Young Marino » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:44 am

Desert Fox wrote:I hate myself but 60 after 5 days sucks.

Why do you hate yourself?

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Desert Fox
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Desert Fox » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:28 am

Young Marino wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I hate myself but 60 after 5 days sucks.

Why do you hate yourself?


Siding with the masters.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby JohannDeMann » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:00 am

First, if the dude gave you confidential information and you still got it you got negotiating chips. You can also always threaten to report him to the bar and or small claims court. Either would be a pain in his ass more than paying the chump change.

2nd this won't be a character and fitness problem because it doesn't even have to be reported. You were never an employee it was sn independent contractor relationship that was a one off assignment. Don't even acknowledge it and it will be fine.

jarofsoup
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby jarofsoup » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:20 am

Talk to your CDO. Then talk to the bar and then go to small claims court. However, if you go after him he will retaliate in some way. So I would start by talking with your school

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swampman
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby swampman » Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:25 am

Desert Fox wrote:I hate myself but 60 after 5 days sucks.

Even given that he was only paid for 20 hours? No idea what that work involves, but OP spent 20 minutes each when the bossman expected 15 minutes each. Could be worse.

500 would take 125 hours at 15 minutes per contract. He can't really expect to get that much from a 2L for $400, right?

shock259
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby shock259 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:39 pm

I'd give it time, too. Sometimes these things take a while to process. Don't have to go all small claims over his ass yet.

mvp99
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby mvp99 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:50 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:Joh
JohannDeMann wrote:First, if the dude gave you confidential information and you still got it you got negotiating chips. You can also always threaten to report him to the bar and or small claims court. Either would be a pain in his ass more than paying the chump change.

2nd this won't be a character and fitness problem because it doesn't even have to be reported. You were never an employee it was sn independent contractor relationship that was a one off assignment. Don't even acknowledge it and it will be fine.


Depends on the jurisdiction. Also, there might be a question where he has to explain that a professional gave him a review that may impact someone's view of OPs C&F. I don't think they would care about this though

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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
AReasonableMan wrote:If it's only been a week are you sure you're not overreacting? The idea he'll try to screw you out of $400 you worked for at the risk of sanctions or just personal decency is a pretty intense accusation. It's likelier the $400 don't matter to him. If you were that cash strapped who would you screw over? The overeager law student who'll call the state bar association, or Bill with Cablevision?


Puhleeze like the cheapo thinks the terrified 2L is going to report him to state bar? Give me a break. He sounds cheap and shady calling OP like he/she is on-call. OP: Where did you find this posting? Symplicity? I'd talk to your career services office to see if they can act as an intermediary. Email him again asking for confirmation of receipt of invoice and call him again on Monday. If he doesn't reply to by end of day then I'd ask career services to step in. Don't just do nothing and let him take advantage of your weak position. Get the money he owes you.

ya prob right. whole project seems sketch. if this guy got through to a career services office then that's a shitty career services office.

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kings84_wr
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby kings84_wr » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:01 pm

If its a jurisdiction with waiting time penalties (i.e. California) file a complaint.

AReasonableMan
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:38 pm

regarding c&f and how this applies - if this individual has enough disrespect for you to not only not pay you but to also ignore your calls asking to get paid, what do you suppose the likelihood is that s/he (1) returns the bar's calls and (2) says you're a great lawyer?

i would never not pay an employee even if it meant i had to go for pb&j for the foreseeable future, but if i was going to break the law to fuck someone, there is no way i would ever create evidence stating that the person did a good job. not only would this be used against me in a civil proceeding, it'd also be used against me in a disciplinary one.
Last edited by AReasonableMan on Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby Desert Fox » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:39 pm

AReasonableMan wrote:regarding c&f and how this applies - if this individual has enough disrespect for you to not only not pay you but to also ignore your calls asking to get paid, what do you suppose the likelihood is that s/he (1) returns the bar's calls and (2) says you're a great lawyer?


They don't have to say he is a great lawyer.

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fats provolone
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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby fats provolone » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:40 pm

no one is failing c&f because a former boss said they sucked

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Re: Former boss won't pay me or return calls/emails. Now what?

Postby AReasonableMan » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:42 pm

fats provolone wrote:no one is failing c&f because a former boss said they sucked

nah i'm just saying that there's nothing gained by not pursuing it. also, if the bar is curious as to why it didn't work out, not getting paid in violation of the agreement seems like an obvious enough reason for them to not think twice about it.




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