The Washington D.C. Bar Association has released an ethics opinion to its members indicating that payment of legal fees using cryptocurrencies will be accepted. Using cryptos as a payment method for legal fees has been okayed by the bar association as long as professionals charge fair fees and consider market volatility.
Lawyers Accepting Crypto Payments Not Unethical
According to a statement recently published by the Washington D.C. Bar Association, accepting payment of legal fees in cryptocurrencies falls within the ethical boundaries governing professional conduct.
With the document titled ‘Ethics Opinion 378: Acceptance of Cryptocurrency as Payment for Legal Fees’, the D.C bar association becomes the fourth in the U.S. to greenlight the use of cryptos as a payment method for legal fees.
Although the Washington D.C. bar association recognizes that certain aspects of cryptocurrencies such as volatility raise ethical challenges for lawyers that remain absent when dealing with fiat currencies, the bar association also stated that:
“We do not perceive any basis in the Rules of Professional Conduct for treating cryptocurrency as a uniquely unethical form of payment. Cryptocurrency is, ultimately, simply a relatively new means of transferring economic value, and the Rules are flexible enough to provide for the protection of clients’ interests and property without rejecting advances in technologies.”
Furthermore, the document concluded that the main concerns attached to using crypto as a payment method for legal fees revolves around establishing a reasonable and fair agreement between legal professionals and their clients. An excerpt from the ethics opinion reads:
“A lawyer who accepts cryptocurrency as an advance fee on services yet to be rendered, however, must ensure that the fee arrangement is reasonable, objectively fair to the client, and has been agreed to only after the client has been informed in writing of its implications and given the opportunity to seek independent counsel.”
Cryptocurrency Adoption Continues to Grow
The statement from the DC Bar Association is only the latest in the growing wave of recognition and adoption for cryptos across several facets of human life. No more are cryptocurrencies only associated with criminal activity but establishments the world over are becoming more alive to the value proposition of virtual currencies as a bona fide form of money.
Several research and surveys are showing increasing crypto awareness with a recent FCA poll showing almost 2M Brits owning cryptocurrencies. Virtual currencies are becoming acceptable payment means for retail merchants, real estate transactions among others.