Corporate Attorney Buffalo, NYLegal Services

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Business Transactions and Agreements
  • Construction Litigation
  • Mechanic's Liens
  • Commercial Collections
  • Wills, Trusts, Estate and Probate Practice
  • Estate Planning, Elder Law
  • Business Creditors’ Rights in Bankruptcy
  • Residential & Commercial Real Estate Property Matters
  • Discrimination and Defamation
  • Appellate Practice
  • The firm maintains a working relationship with a team of professionals including attorneys, accountants and insurance consultants in complex Estate Planning matters.
  • The firm maintains referral relations for its clients in the areas of Personal Injury, Criminal Law, Personal Bankruptcy, Worker's Compensation, Tax Litigation and Matrimonials.


A debt collection case arises from a person or company’s failure to make payment on an obligation to a lender or a seller of goods or services. These cases are civil cases in which the seller or lender (creditor) seeks to recover a sum of money from another person or company (debtor). Each collection case falls into one of two basic categories – either commercial or consumer/ retail. A consumer case arises where credit is extended, or a sale is made, to an individual for personal, family or household purposes. The distinction is important because of the existence of federal (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and state laws that provide certain safeguards to control abuses in the enforcement of consumer claims.

The overall strategy of this firm is to reduce a collection claim to collected funds as soon as possible. In other words, get money for our creditor-client.

Getman & Biryla , LLP. receives claims from more than 300 private businesses and more than 270 forwarding agencies throughout the United States and Canada. We can accept claims electronically through our computerized, state-of-the-art debt collection system.

The firm is a member of the Commercial Law League of America (CLLA), and a member of the following Commercial Law Lists:

  • The American Lawyers Quarterly The National List
  • The Columbia List
  • The Forwarders List of Attorneys
  • The Commercial Bar
  • The International Lawyers Directory
  • The General Bar

The firm handles commercial unsecured claims, retail unsecured claims, commercial claims secured by mortgages on real property and/or secured by security agreements on personal property, commercial or retail promissory notes, contract disputes, commercial and individual claims arising out of construction disputes, and all related matters.


Most debt collection cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, i.e., attorneys’ fees are only charged on the amount of the claim collected. Our contingent rate conforms to the guidelines of the Commercial Law League. We also charge a suit fee of 5% to 10% depending on the amount involved, the complexity of the case and the difficulty of collecting. In some instances, we will request that all or a portion of the suit be non-contingent (subject to client approval), which means the client pays the suit fee regardless of the outcome.

In all cases the creditor/client is responsible for the actual out-of-pocket disbursements paid to third parties (such as process servers and courts) to enforce or sue the claim, unless they can be recovered from the debtor. The out-of-pocket disbursements usually range from $250.00 to $400.00 per case, primarily depending on the filing fees of the Court where the suit is filed.


Upon receipt of each claim, we review and evaluate it to determine whether it:

1. Is legally enforceable;
2. Is supported by appropriate documentation;
3. May accrue interest at a rate above the statutory rate; and
4. Is subject to a written agreement for attorneys’ fees.

Once we approve the claim we immediately:

1. Input the claim into the firm’s computerized debt collection system;
2. Send an appropriate demand letter to the debtor;
3. Telephone the debtor to demand payment; and
4. Send the client an acknowledgment of the claim.

We then use our computer system to follow the claim, insuring that it is either collected by payment or payment program. If not collected, we determine whether, when and where (in what court) the claim should be sued.

Many claims that are sued result in a default judgment against the debtor. Once a judgment is entered, it can be enforced by execution against the debtor’s personal property, including wages, bank accounts, vehicles, equipment and machinery, inventory, and accounts receivable. We will also record the judgment as a lien against any of the debtor’s real property, which in some cases can be sold by execution sale to satisfy the judgment.

Some Buffalo, NY debtors dispute collection claims. If that occurs before we start the lawsuit, we substantiate the claim from documents furnished by the client. If the debtor does not dispute the claim until after we commence the lawsuit, our commercial attorney takes over the claim. Our attorneys will normally try to obtain a "summary" judgment by making a motion to the court, typically based on invoices, receipts and supported by a client’s affidavit swearing to the truth of the facts. If the motion is not successful, or inappropriate, we will place the case on the court calendar for trial or arbitration.

When funds on a claim are collected, the funds are remitted to the creditor after the payment has been cleared through our bank.

If the debtor tries to avoid responsibility for the debt by seeking bankruptcy protection, we can pursue the claim in bankruptcy court, but usually on an hourly-fee basis.

If a claim proves to be un-collectible we send the creditor a closeout letter confirming that the claim is a bad debt.

Contact the Qualified Real Estate Attorney at Getman & Biryla LLP

The firm primarily represents creditors’ interests in the bankruptcy courts. We protect bankruptcy creditors’ rights by filing claims, attending hearings, serving on creditors’ committees, and bringing proceedings to determine the dischargeability of creditors’ claims or to lift bankruptcy stays when appropriate. These actions are especially important in Chapter 7 filings by businesses and individuals.

In business bankruptcy cases, we have experience reviewing the viability of business reorganization plans, assisting creditors by serving on creditors’ committees, and reviewing plans of reorganization or plans of payment, which are filed for a business under chapter 11 or for a family farmer under chapter 12. We also review repayment plans for wage earners under chapter 13.

When you file for bankruptcy, you should always consult with a bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy law is very complex. Working with an attorney will help you ensure your rights are protected throughout all legal proceedings. Our experienced attorneys work with our clients to achieve the best outcome in their bankruptcy case.

The firm represents secured creditors by assisting them in recovering their secured collateral or by obtaining adequate protection payments for their collateral during the bankruptcy process. These services may include proceedings to lift the bankruptcy stay, to compel adequate protection payments, and /or to require a debtor to assume or reject agreements (e.g., leases, contracts) between the creditor and the debtor.

All attorneys in the firm are admitted to practice before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York. The bankruptcy court is located one block from the our office.

The services we provide in bankruptcy matters are usually billed at an hourly rate.

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