Law Office of Sanford J. Asman

Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Software, Intellectual Property, and Related Litigation


Foreign Associate Billing Procedures


Foreign Associate Billing Procedures

As a number of associates have raised questions as to the manner in which my firm handles their bills, and as I would like to avoid any misunderstandings, the following sets forth the procedures currently employed by my firm:

Relationship and Billings to Clients
First, and foremost, you should understand that my firm is not your client; nor will my firm be responsible for payment of your bills, irrespective of whether or not my firm has given you instructions in connection with the handling of any matter. To the extent that my firm agrees to handle your bills with our mutual clients, you should be aware that bills are sent out to my clients on the last day of the month. My firm uses a computerized system intended to have bills go out in a timely manner. That means that if an expense item which is chargeable to a client, such as a bill from an associate, is received too late to be entered into the billing system for that month’s bills, it will not billed to the client until the next monthly billing cycle. In general, you should directly bill the client, unless I have expressly agreed to handle your billings as expenses to our mutual client(s), in which case the procedures set forth herein shall be deemed accepted by, and shall be binding upon, your firm.

No Referral Fees
It has never been my practice to expect from, or give to, my associates any referral fee. Nor do I impose a fee upon those associates whose billings my firm handles for the time I spend handling the billing and collection of their accounts with our mutual clients. However, if my firm agrees to handle your billings, you should appreciate that it takes time and effort to handle these items, and you should also appreciate the receipt of referral business being provided (I know that I do.).

Bill Format
Any bill sent to my firm for processing MUST include our file number so that it can be entered into the billing system without wasting time looking it up. Any bill which fails to comply with this requirement will not be processed. Also, it is imperative that all bills MUST be directed to the client, NOT to my firm. You may send the bills to my firm, but they should name the client, not my firm (although they may be directed to {client name} c/o Sanford J. Asman, Esq., 570 Vinington Court, Atlanta, GA 30350 USA). Bills naming my firm as the party being billed WILL BE RETURNED for correction.

Late Fees/Finance Charges
It is not my normal practice to add late fees or interest charges to bills of foreign associates, or to accept such fees or charges, as delays are inherent in passing your bills to me and then to my client. It is a fact of life that some clients pay late. Accordingly, late charges will not be accepted, or paid. Due to my practice of billing at the end of the month, a bill received by me from an associate after the end of the month automatically gets another month of delay tacked onto it, as it must await my normal billing cycle. You may avoid this delay by billing the client directly (and leaving me out of the loop) or by making certain that your bill is received by me prior to the end of my billing cycle and with adequate time to add it to the billing system. Please note that my firm no longer uses faxes, as email provides for better copies that are already in electronic format. Nevertheless, you should not email bills at the end of the month, as they may not be noticed before the billing period has closed. In no event will I be responsible for any late fees or interest charges.

Liability for Non-Payment
While it is not my normal practice to represent clients who fail to pay their bills in a timely manner, and as the need for foreign patent and/or trademark work typically occurs only with those clients who tend to be more financially committed, one never knows. A client who ultimately fails to pay its bills or one that declares bankruptcy is a risk that we all take. In no event, however, should my accommodation (in handling your billing) or the billing and collection services which I perform be construed as a guaranty by me or my firm as to the payment of charges rendered on behalf of clients. When I ask an associate to perform services, I am acting merely as the agent of the client, and when you accept such assignments from me, your acceptance and performance of such services constitutes your acceptance of the risk of non-payment by the client. Consequently, my firm shall not be responsible for the non-payment of bills by our mutual clients. Note, also, that all payments received by my firm are applied, first, to the outstanding bills of my firm. This means that if a client pays partial bills, or pays bills late, you accept the consequences of their actions as a cost for having my firm handle your billings.

Transferred Files/Termination of Representation
Occasionally, files are transferred between U.S. firms. If my firm is the recipient of a transferred file in which you have outstanding, unpaid bills, you may submit a new bill to my firm which complies with these procedures, and it will be processed pursuant to these procedures. If my firm transfers any files to another firm, or if my firm stops representing one of our mutual clients, then it will be your sole responsibility to seek further collection of any of your bills directly from the client, or any successor firm.

Manner of Payment
It is my practice to pay all associates by either (a) American Express; or (b) by my firm’s check, payable in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank at the conversion rate in effect as of the date of your invoice is entered into our billing system, as evidenced by any of the currency conversion programs available over the Internet. On any given day, the conversion rate (and, consequently, the amount paid) may be higher or lower than on any other day. Payment when rendered, as set forth, is intended to constitute payment in full of the account specified. In no event will my firm be responsible for changes in currency conversion rates or any costs associated with the handling of my U.S. checks.

Wire Transfers
A number of associates have requested payment via wire transfer in order to expedite receipt of payments or to avoid excessive delays due to their mail service.  As set forth above, those instructions are generally ignored, because wire transfers (a) cost my firm money; and (b) sending wire transfers requires that I actually go to my bank to do so, which costs me time.  If a foreign associate truly wants me to send a wire transfer, then there will be a charge, by way of deduction from the amount transferred amounting to one hour of billable time, plus the actual amount charged for the wire transfer.  This charge is substantial, so be absolutely certain when you request wire transfer payments that you recognize that it will be made, and you accept the consequences of the payment.

Reciprocal Arrangements
To the extent that I perform services in the U.S. on behalf of your office, I shall expect to be apprised of any differences in your billing practices from those set forth above. Alternatively, I accept the foregoing as your billing practices with respect to my bills, and I always appreciate the opportunity to act as the U.S. attorney to meet the needs of my foreign associates.

Changes to These Procedures
My firm expressly reserves the right to make changes to these procedures at any time, with or without notice. For so long as your firm uses my firm to handle any of your billings to mutual clients, you agree, and are expected to, periodically review these procedures. Your submission of any invoice to my firm shall constitute your representation that you have reviewed and accepted the latest version of these procedures.