Lawyers working within the jurisdiction of Washington, D.C., can now accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment for legal services.
- As reported by Bloomberg Law on Wednesday, cryptocurrency can now be used to pay for legal services as long as the fee agreement is fair and is only permissible if the lawyer is able to safely store the payment, the District of Columbia Bar said in an ethics opinion.
- "[Attorneys] cannot hold back the tides of change even if they would like to, and cryptocurrency is increasingly accepted as a payment method by vendors and service providers, including lawyers,” the organization said.
- The committee acknowledged the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies and added that fairness to the client should be considered in fee arrangements.
- The organization did say clients of District lawyers are allowed to confer with outside legal counsel on any crypto-payment deal, and attorneys must have written consent regarding the fee agreement from clients.
- Lawyers also must be competent in blockchain, the underlying technology of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, in order to ensure the safety and protection of all advance fees, the group said. The bar “requires lawyers to understand and safeguard against the many ways cryptocurrency can be stolen or lost.”
- Bar associations in other jurisdictions, such as North Carolina, Nebraska and New York City, have previously approved accepting cryptocurrency as payment.