Even with a recession, legal work kept flowing into Ricardo Gonzalez and Michael Wermuth's small Doral commercial law firm.
Revenues were another story.
Each month this year brought another client behind on its legal bills. Checks that used to come in every 30 days went missing for 60 days, then 90 days. At one point this summer, 75 cents of every dollar billed were more than a month overdue.
``Some of them were having difficulties because their own customers and clients were behind on payments to them,'' Wermuth said. Added Gonzalez: ``I'm sure they were behind in paying a lot of things.''
But this fall, both anxiety and receiveables have dropped substantially at the seven-lawyer shop. Clients eased their grip on cash, allowing Gonzalez & Wermuth to slash its overdue fees by more than half.
``Things seem to be healthier,'' Wermuth said. ``What we started seeing was clients having the ability to bring their bills up to date.''
In this dismal economy, it takes some work to find encouraging signs. I know because it's my job to write The Herald's new Green Shoots column.