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ROW YOUR OWN CANOE (To Get Your Judgment Enforced Efficiently)

By: Joe H. Dickerson

You’ve won a significant civil case and have been awarded a significant amount of money by the court and it’s been months, or perhaps years, you have paid your attorneys a lot of money and you have never recovered a single dollar, you look in the mirror every day and ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong?”

I would suggest to you that you’re probably not doing anything wrong. You are, in all likelihood, just not doing most of the right things to get the job done correctly. Don’t be too hard on yourself – because 80% of the people or businesses that win judgments in the United States never get their money.

That’s right – 80% of the judgments entered in the US are never enforced or collected.

There are many reasons and even more excuses for this sad and unnecessary fact. It’s not your fault – that’s not the business you are in – but it’s your responsibility to Row Your Own Canoe, and you don’t have to do it yourself. It’s much like owning your own yacht – in all probability, you are not the captain of your yacht. You hire a qualified expert – A seasoned expert to be your captain and he hires managers and supervisors, the crew that all work together to get you safely to your destination.

Unless you are in the business of buying and collecting your own judgments, you do not need a yacht or a captain. Even if your fishing for trophies you will probably do just fine with a reasonable sized fishing boat or canoe.

When I say, “Row Your Own Canoe”, I am of course speaking metaphorically. You must take the responsibility as the owner of the judgment, to see that either you or your trusted consultant and advisor, take charge and ensure that the right team of judgment enforcement experts are on the team and managed properly. The team should consist of: a Financial Forensic Research Expert; perhaps a Digital Forensic Expert; perhaps a Forensic Accountant; and an experienced, aggressive, no non-sense attorney.

Let’s quickly review the major reasons that 80% of the judgments in the US are never enforced:

  1. Only three of the top 50 law schools ever mention judgment enforcement – those three, according to the Dean of the Law School, discuss judgment enforcement for two or three hours in their Creditor’s Rights course.
  2. Typically, attorneys want to keep on doing what they’ve always done and then they keep on getting what they’ve always got – 80% failure.
    A. They subpoena the debtor to a deposition and require him, via subpoena, to bring all his financial records, bank statements, brokerage account records, etc. They are surprised when the debtor does not comply – but they do little, if anything, to force compliance.
    B. They seldom, if ever, checking to verify the lies told by the debtor under oath.
    C. They act as they actually believe the debtor or his attorney when promises are made to locate and supply the wiring documents.
  3. They continue to bill the client and usually want to repeat the two above.

Surprise, they fail 80% of the time but they got lots of billable hours.

The other 20% of attorneys who work judgment enforcement cases do anywhere from an acceptable to an outstanding job for their clients.

As Seen In

Financial Forensic Services, LLC is proud to staff Certified Fraud Examiners

Testimonial

“When I was general counsel for First Interstate Bank, I used Joe Dickerson for locating assets, investigating behavior and asset discovery. He did excellent work and always got the information I needed without compromising the bank in any way. He’s more thorough and kept in better touch with me than other investigators. I’d give him a grade of 96 or 97 out of 100.”

Frank Brainerd, Retired
Banker/Attorney

2014-11-11T18:20:20+00:00

Frank Brainerd, Retired
Banker/Attorney

“When I was general counsel for First Interstate Bank, I used Joe Dickerson for locating assets, investigating behavior and asset discovery. He did excellent work and always got the information I needed without compromising the bank in any way. He’s more thorough and kept in better touch with me than other investigators. I’d give him a grade of 96 or 97 out of 100.”

“Joe spends the time to understand the problem from the client’s perspective and from the legal perspective. He is intelligent, tenacious, willing to work as hard as it takes, thorough, well-informed, and just awfully good at what he does.”

Thomas E. Root, 
Attorney

2014-11-11T18:20:05+00:00

Thomas E. Root, 
Attorney

“Joe spends the time to understand the problem from the client’s perspective and from the legal perspective. He is intelligent, tenacious, willing to work as hard as it takes, thorough, well-informed, and just awfully good at what he does.”

“Financial Forensic Services did an excellent job in the way they executed my case. They were very straightforward. They stated what they could do for us and they did it. And, from a personal standpoint, they are excellent. Both my wife and I felt very comfortable working with them.”

Michael Whalen, 
Businessman

2014-11-11T18:21:13+00:00

Michael Whalen, 
Businessman

“Financial Forensic Services did an excellent job in the way they executed my case. They were very straightforward. They stated what they could do for us and they did it. And, from a personal standpoint, they are excellent. Both my wife and I felt very comfortable working with them.”

“Joe Dickerson is the industry standard. You can measure the rest by what he does, and I say that without equivocation. Joe has incredible insight into the dark world of fraud. He understands the devious ways in which people perpetrate white-collar crime.”

Jan Schlichtman
, Attorney at Law

2014-11-11T18:20:55+00:00

Jan Schlichtman
, Attorney at Law

“Joe Dickerson is the industry standard. You can measure the rest by what he does, and I say that without equivocation. Joe has incredible insight into the dark world of fraud. He understands the devious ways in which people perpetrate white-collar crime.”

“They went overboard in providing excellent service. I was very pleased with what they provided for me as their end product. Financial Forensic Services really understands how a case needs to be put together in order to be presented to a jury. Their PowerPoint presentation tied everything together. It was thorough, it was concise, and it got the job done.”

Jim Thomas
, Prosecuting Attorney

2014-11-11T18:21:32+00:00

Jim Thomas
, Prosecuting Attorney

“They went overboard in providing excellent service. I was very pleased with what they provided for me as their end product. Financial Forensic Services really understands how a case needs to be put together in order to be presented to a jury. Their PowerPoint presentation tied everything together. It was thorough, it was concise, and it got the job done.”

” I was prepared to dismiss a federal case involving millions of dollars against a local individual who claimed to have no substantial assets. After your staff hit the records and delved into the transactions behind the transactions, you discovered the individual to actually be worth a few million dollars. We continued the case to conclusion. We were also very happy with the financial background examinations you conducted of the former directors of two failed national banks. The heart of any civil case is whether there is a pot at the end of the lawsuit. You were our lucky leprechaun in finding such pots.”

R. Michael Sentel
, Former Section Chief Legal Division, FDIC

2014-11-11T18:13:08+00:00

R. Michael Sentel
, Former Section Chief Legal Division, FDIC

” I was prepared to dismiss a federal case involving millions of dollars against a local individual who claimed to have no substantial assets. After your staff hit the records and delved into the transactions behind the transactions, you discovered the individual to actually be worth a few million dollars. We continued the case to conclusion. We were also very happy with the financial background examinations you conducted of the former directors of two failed national banks. The heart of any civil case is whether there is a pot at the end of the lawsuit. You were our lucky leprechaun in finding such pots.”

“As an environmental law firm, we use Joe Dickerson to locate prior business owners and do corporate genealogies. He is persistent, that’s the key to a good investigator, and he has a knack for understanding how people move money and do business. That tells him what rocks to look under. Joe is vastly superior to other investigators in two ways: he lets you know what’s going on and he’s honest with you, because he tells you if there’s really anything there worth pursuing. He is unusually thorough and creative finding people. Joe has earned his fee every time.” “If the information is to be found, then I believe that they will find it. Their service enabled me to do a much better job for my client.”

Tim Gabelhouse
, Attorney at Law

2014-11-11T18:20:41+00:00

Tim Gabelhouse
, Attorney at Law

“As an environmental law firm, we use Joe Dickerson to locate prior business owners and do corporate genealogies. He is persistent, that’s the key to a good investigator, and he has a knack for understanding how people move money and do business. That tells him what rocks to look under. Joe is vastly superior to other investigators in two ways: he lets you know what’s going on and he’s honest with you, because he tells you if there’s really anything there worth pursuing. He is unusually thorough and creative finding people. Joe has earned his fee every time.” “If the information is to be found, then I believe that they will find it. Their service enabled me to do a much better job for my client.”

“Joe is the most competent investigator I’ve ever found. He has rare ability to find hidden assets. Others claim it, Joe has it. He understands the Rules of Evidence, he knows how to talk to people to develop a fact pattern, and he has a sixth sense for fraud. Joe has unquestioned integrity and delivers value for his services.”

Andrew Quiat
, Attorney

2014-11-11T18:12:51+00:00

Andrew Quiat
, Attorney

“Joe is the most competent investigator I’ve ever found. He has rare ability to find hidden assets. Others claim it, Joe has it. He understands the Rules of Evidence, he knows how to talk to people to develop a fact pattern, and he has a sixth sense for fraud. Joe has unquestioned integrity and delivers value for his services.”