Molly English-Bowers Nov. 23, 2015, 1:48pm


A Madison County attorney is suing a Granite City law firm, alleging non-payment of legal fees for work she referred to her firm.

Deborah Besserman filed a lawsuit on Oct. 26 in Madison County Circuit Court against Roth Law Offices and Ronald Roth.

According to the complaint, when Besserman entered into employment as a law clerk with the defendant, she was told she would receive a "split fee," which the suit says is common in the legal world and is generally split 50-50.

Once Besserman passed the bar and began working as an associate attorney for the defendants, she agreed to a change in that compensation, the suit says. However, in early 2014, Besserman and another attorney were called into a meeting where the defendant once again announced a change in the fee sharing provision, but neither agreed, the lawsuit states.

For the rest of her employment, until Besserman was terminated by Roth Law on July 1, 2014, the suit says the defendant kept changing the fee sharing plan without agreement from the associate attorneys.

The suit alleges the defendant's refusal to pay plaintiff her share of the attorneys' fees breaches the compensation agreement and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Besserman seeks her earned compensation, statutory damages and attorney fees. No attorney for the plaintiff was listed in the complaint.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1377.

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