Business of Law

No cash? No problem. Lawyers take cars, Yorkies, fish bait and food as fees

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When clients don’t have cash, many get creative in offering to barter something else for legal services. And, perhaps surprisingly, lawyers often take them up on the offer, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

Attorneys tell the Florida newspaper they’ve taken cars (including a Rolls Royce and a Mini Cooper), Yorkies, fish bait and lasagna in exchange for legal services. More dubious offers included the man charged with posing as an attorney who offered to work as a paralegal and a man accused of illegally dealing in firearms who was willing to provide an army tank.

“I think he was serious, but I didn’t take the case and I didn’t take the tank,” said attorney Eric Schwartzreich of Ft. Lauderdale. “I didn’t know where to park it; I didn’t think it would fit in my garage.”

Another Fort Lauderdale defense attorney, Jason Kreiss, rejected an offer of a herd of cattle in Venezuela.

And Fred Schwartz of Boca Raton, who did accept a 1977 Rolls Royce from a client who works as a fortune teller, drew the line at a client who tried more than 20 years ago to persuade his legal counsel to accept a rundown Art Deco hotel instead of the $400,000 he owed.

The firm held out for cash and got $300,000, Schwartz tells the Sun-Sentinel. The hotel later sold for $5 million.

See also: “Have you ever accepted something other than cash for legal services?”

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