Is Pro Bono, a tax write off? If so? How could I convince my attorney to offer his final bill to me as a pro bono bill.

Asked over 2 years ago - Sacramento, CA

I paid my attorney in advance 2,000 for a court hearing that actually ended in a mutual agreement veing signed by both parties. Plaintiff,me. And defendant. Civil case. I got a bill for all wirk leading up to the hearing. All of the 2,000 was used. A final bill could result from my attorney having to draw up a mutual release contract which could cost alot more money. How could I convince him to offer pro bono on final bill. Any suggestions?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Howard M Lewis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    16

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    chosen by asker

    Answered . Many attorney's witll offer professional courtesy discounts for clients that they have already earned a fair fee on. If you feel that your attorney has been paid properly and you don't have any more money, the best thing you can do is be honest and ask for a professional courtesy, a mutual release is really not that much to draft however, I do not know the facts of your case and it could be a decent amount of work- my best advice is to be honest and discuss this with him or her, if there is very little legal work to do then most attny's would rather you be happy than to send you a bill you won't be able or want to pay. A good client will tell many others that he or she is a good attorney, hope that helps, take care. I would leave the write off issue alone and no pro bono is not a write off- good luck and just be as honest with him or her as you were here-

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to... more
  2. Curtis Lamar Harrington Jr

    Contributor Level 20

    20

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . For anyone, the basis in their time spent is zero. Therefore nothing to write off.

    Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal... more
  3. Nadine Marie Jett

    Contributor Level 16

    17

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Pro Bono is not a tax write off. It seems unlikely that your attorney will agree to give you free services, after the work is performed. If you are unable to pay, you should address the issue now, not later. Let the lawyer go, or offer to make a payment plan.

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship

  4. Christopher Michael Larson

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    14

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Pro Bono work is not a write-off for attorneys. And even if it were, doesn't that basically mean they would be writing 35% off at best? I understand that $2,000 seems like a lot of money, but following all court procedures can be a timely process. You are paying for the hours used, and if it wouldn't have been settled, the bill would have likely been much higher.

    When you pay a retainer, you are not covering the entire service, and you feel it should, you should talk to the attorney in advance. When people do that enough times, it forces attorneys to collect larger retainers to ensure payment.

    Now I am not sure what you do for a living, but lets use a graphic artist as an example. Most people wouldn't dream of asking a graphic artist to come do some free work for them. They would know there was a point where they were asking for actual work to be done for which they will be charged. But with attorneys, people seem to have this idea that we should simply be willing to donate 10 hours of our time to total strangers at their request because we know the law. I am not sure where it comes from.

    As with ANY job or profession, including your own, we want to decide where we donate our time and resources in advance. Not much to ask.

    Christopher Larson
    www.bellevue-tax-attorneys.com
    www.insightlawfirm.wordpress.com

  5. J David Hopkins

    Contributor Level 10

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No write-off allowed. If you can't pay the attorney and he or she won't finish the case without payment, then use the lawyer as a resource but not for representation. Have the attorney withdraw. Then, you construct a "mutual release contract" and bring it to him or her for review before presenting it to the other side. If agreeable, sign & submit dismissal to court.

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