Legal Ethics

Can Lawyers Ethically Accept Cryptocurrency?

QUESTION: Several years back we added credit card billing to our options for client bill payment, including through an online secured platform. Our bill collection rates dramatically increased along with how fast a bill was paid with emailed invoices. It was great!

We recently saw some companies accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment for goods and services. While we don’t expect a high volume of clients to pay with this new “currency,” we are thinking about offering it as an option. If nothing else, it shows we are keeping ahead of the curve on modern trends. Should we be pumping the brakes, or do we have the green light to accept cryptocurrency as payment?

ANSWER: At first glance, it may seem like you would be in the clear to accept alternative payments for the legal services rendered. Why not, since you can accept nonmonetary items such as a goat for preparing a family’s estate planning documents, so long as the goat was reasonable compensation for the legal services provided. Yes, I’m sure someone at some time bartered hooved animals for the services of an attorney and counselor at law. No?

Having clients is a good thing. Having paying clients is a great thing. We want to make it as easy as possible for our clients to pay our bills, i.e., do all we can to eliminate the time, method and ability barriers to accounts receivables.

According to the 2017 Legal Trends Report from Clio, lawyers spend only 2.3 hours (29 percent of an eight-hour workday) on billable tasks and, when factoring in realization and collection rates, firms only collect an average of 1.6 hours (20 percent of an eight-hour workday) of billable time per day. It’s no surprise we are trying various methods to reclaim value for our provided work product.

READ MORE Attorney At Work October 10, 2018

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