It all started with L.A.’s premier litigation boutique firm, Liner LLP. Mr. Stuart Liner had access to a war chest of lawyers, but he wanted a lawyer with grit, a former criminal prosecutor – or, a street fighter. One day he called Barney and said “...I’ve got an idea for you. There are some files here that I want you to take and if you do what I think you can do, then this may be the door you walk thru...” With just one phone call, Mr. Liner changed everything (as he’s known to do). Barney’s law firm went from business litigation to having a sliver-laser focus - pursuing a law firm’s clients that refused to pay their legal fees. Once this started, these same law firms handed Barney their judgments for additional enforcement. Blessed with guidance from his other mentors, lawyers known for their stellar achievements and peerless intellect, Fred Fenster, Esq., Henry David, Esq., and the esteemed Barry Hirsch, Esq., it began. Since then, Barney’s firm has recovered more than $9,000,000.00 in just over six years.
“I always wanted a civil practice where I could keep my prosecutor mentality. To use investigation tactics instead of just regular discovery. When a firm retains us to recover their fees, we look at it with the eye that we will go beyond mere preponderance of the evidence - we make sure that we bolt the case down, forcing the defendant to pay no matter what. It’s a privilege to represent these incredible firms and corporations - we run down the defendants and drain them because these firms and corporations deserve this level of undaunted service.”
Known for finding his opponents’ weaknesses and for using his own brand of guerilla warfare to win, Barney Balonick holds an established reputation as a Los Angeles lawyer never afraid to fight for his clients. At his firm, the Balonick Law Office, Inc., Barney’s areas of practice include judgment enforcement, creditors’ rights, asset recovery, business litigation, and professional responsibility. When people ask him how his firm continues to leap forward, he says “pure will.”
Barney was on Chicago-Kent School of Law’s trial team, won regionals, and went right from law school to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where he was on trial the very first day. Barney knew his prosecutor’s mentality would never ebb and it led him to loving what he does even today. “From the minute I got out of school, I started chasing bad guys and trying cases in court,” he quips. He may have started in Chicago but when prominent entertainment lawyer Barry Hirsch invited him to Los Angeles, Barney jumped. As his career grew, he became one of the few lawyers admitted to the big three: New York, Illinois, and California.
About six years ago, Barney opened his own practice but what seemed right, what made the most sense, was the sense of purpose. That purpose came from representing law firms and other companies to get their bills paid. As a result, Barney’s primary focus is now enforcing the rights of creditors, pre- and post-judgment. In fact, he has become a great option for law firms to retrieve the money owed to them. Working as L.A. law’s vengeful enforcer, Barney and his team recovered over $9 million within their first five years and in April 2020 alone, they brought in over $600,000 from debt collection. “Since the door opened, we have been so lucky to get these chances,” says Barney.
Today, the firm’s practice has grown to represent corporate clients in addition to law firms, to go after debts on their behalf. Interestingly, however, Barney is seeing a similar pattern between those who do not pay their legal bills and those who latch onto corporate debt. For example, in a typical case, people refuse to pay the amount they agreed upon, but it is not because they lack the funds. According to Barney, it is because they are career welchers, who essentially steal for a living by taking his client’s services and then not paying. According to Barney “the refusal to pay is always the defendant’s last mistake.”
Recently, one of L.A.’s most successful trial firms had judgments against a defendant now doing decades in prison. Using some of his favorite techniques (e.g., grilling a defendant as if he were going to read the Miranda warnings), not only did he recover 100% of the judgment but Barney also managed to retrieve an extra $130,000 in interest. A hard-fought victory. Although everyone on the case got paid, he says that it was the vengeance that felt great. In the end, the most important thing for Barney is to never forget where he came from, what made him, and to always remember and respect those that believed in him.
Balonick Law Office, Inc.
10100 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 1700
Los Angeles, California 90067