The days of having second-year associates handle debt collection are long gone, says Atlanta-based malpractice expert J. Randy Evans, a partner at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm.
Eroding defenses and prohibitions under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act have created a new cottage industry–one built on putting attorneys in the hot seat.
The federal law was designed to protect consumers, but it’s now doing the opposite for attorneys—stripping them of defenses and heightening their exposure to malpractice suits. It aims to combat unfair, abusive and deceptive debt collection practices.
But a series of court decisions against law firms, plus the act’s provision of attorneys’ fees for prevailing plaintiffs—but not for prevailing defendants—created an unintended consequence: an aggressive plaintiffs bar putting collectors’ attorneys on trial.
Evans offers insight on how to avoid common missteps, and best practices for responding to suits alleging violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.