VSB Standing Committee On Legal Ethics Seeking Public Comment On Legal Ethics Opinion 1848
Pursuant to Part Six: Section IV, Paragraph 10(c)(iii) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics (“Committee”) is seeking public comment on proposed advisory Legal Ethics Opinion 1848, Use of Credit Cards For Legal Services.
This proposed opinion generally revisits the question of charging clients transactional fees associated with the use of credit cards. After seeking a legal opinion from the Office of the Attorney General, the Committee opines that a lawyer may pass along merchant fees associated with credit card use to the client with disclosure and consent. These fees may be deducted from the lawyer’s escrow account; however, the Committee continues to caution regarding the risks inherent in permitting a financial institution to debit the lawyer’s escrow account. When possible, a lawyer should contract with the financial institution that all debits of fees and costs associated with credit card use, including “chargebacks,” be made from the lawyer’s operating account.
Inspection and Comment
The proposed advisory opinion may be inspected at the office of the Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Copies of the proposed advisory opinion can be obtained from the offices of the Virginia State Bar by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557, or can be found at the Virginia State Bar’s website at http://www.vsb.org.
Any individual, business or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of, or in opposition to, the proposed advisory opinion by filing ten copies with Karen A. Gould, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than April 13, 2009.