Attorneys often wonder when it is too late to defer legal fees on a particular case. If you’re deferring fees using a deferred compensation plan, as long as your clients have not signed the final release agreement in the underlying case, then it is not too late for you to defer your fee in that case.
On the other hand, if you’ve already received money into your IOLTA account, then it’s probably too late to defer your fees on that case.
If you haven’t received your legal fees yet, if your clients still have a release agreement or other final document in the case to sign, and you don’t have an irrevocable, unmitigated economic interest in your fee, you can still defer your fees.
In sum, the irrevocable election to defer must be made prior to a fee being finalized and before the attorney has an entitlement to that fee.
When deciding to defer your fees on a case, the sooner you make the election, the better. Nevertheless, if you’re unsure if you can still do so, give us a call. Oftentimes, it’s not too late to defer fees when attorneys think it is. Give us a call and we can discuss the facts of your unique situation.