Lawyer Ethics and Credit Cards

Friday March 23, 2018

Use of credit cards for virtually every expense, large and small, has become commonplace, to the point where many lawyers now accept credit cards from clients.  Credit cards may be used for fees, expenses, retainers or for other purposes.  This concession to the larger reality of the market, however, raises many ethical questions.  Can lawyers pass on credit card processing fees (which can be substantial on larger invoices) to clients?  What happens if a client’s credit card company charges back fees?  How does a lawyer maintain confidentiality when he or she has a dispute with a credit card company – or the client has a dispute with the credit card company?  These and many issues arise when lawyers accept credit cards from clients. This program will provide you with a guide to ethical issues when credit cards are accepted and used in law practice. 

Handout Materials Will be Emailed to You Prior to the Seminar

Starts 12:00 p.m.
1.0, including 1 hour of ethics MCLE Credit Hours


·         Ethical issues when clients use credit cards to pay attorneys’ fees, costs, and retainers

·         Passing on credit card processing fees to clients – and related Truth-in-Lending issues and tax penalties

·         Ethical issues when credit card companies chargeback funds paid to a lawyer or from a trust account

·         Confidentiality when a client has a dispute with his credit card company – duties to client v. contract with credit card company

·         Use of credit cards to fund a retainer and related trust fund accounting issues – trust funds v. operating funds

·         Creditor claims against trust fund accounts

·         Leftover client funds and proper trust fund accounting


Thomas E. Spahn, McGuireWoods, LLP – McLean, Virginia