Should you talk to the collection lawyer in the hallway right before trial?


Should you talk to the collection lawyer in the hallway right before trial?

You’ve been sued by a debt collector and you show up to trial. You always need to show up to trial unless you have a lawyer.

Usually, the judge will motion to you and the debt collector and tell you that you are free to talk out in the hallway.

Should you talk to the lawyer in the hallway?

Be prepared for this situation and understand this will happen when you’re at trial.

But should you do it?

Sure, go ahead and talk to them.

It doesn’t hurt to talk.

Less talking, more listening.

More importantly, listen to what the other side has to offer.

What does this lawyer have to say?

The lawyer may say, here’s the evidence we have, or here’s the deal we propose.

Or they may say they think you don’t have anything and won’t win the case.

You have to decide whether or not to talk to the lawyer and maybe argue with them some about these points.

I have known of instances where the consumer asks the collection attorney how they are going to prove that they own the debt.

Finally, the lawyer looks around and says “I can’t.”

Maybe they will offer to dismiss the case with prejudice since they can’t prove ownership of the debt.

Or, maybe they don’t want to waste time, so they’ll just tell the judge to enter a judgment for the defendant (the consumer) after a trial, even though there hasn’t really been a trial.

There is no harm in listening.

Know your limits.

Are you the type of person who is carried away easily when others are being persuasive?

If so, then it may be in your best interest not to talk in the hallway.

For example, if I have no will power with sweets then I probably don’t want to be around sweets because I know I’ll give in.

I’ll eat all of the sweets.

Consider what you know about yourself.

If you know you can be gullible or easy to persuade or you are nervous about talking to the lawyer in the hallway, then don’t do it.

I’ve seen this hundreds of times.

Every judge I’ve ever known, says you are welcome to talk, but you don’t have to.

At least in Alabama, where I practice, this is the case.

You have the option to talk, but no one will hold it against you if you decide not to talk to the collection lawyer outside the courtroom.

We hope this is helpful to you!

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Thanks and have a great day!


John Watts


P.S. Here are a few of our other articles to help you prepare for trial:

What happens at trial in a collection lawsuit?

Can my spouse be in the courtroom at my debt collection trial?

Why should I watch other collection trials before my own collection case in Alabama?

I have my debt collection trial in the morning… What do I do now?

Have to wear a mask in court? Then practice under same conditions as trial with a mask on.



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