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Attorney Ethics & the Use of Credit Cards in Law Firms (Teleseminar)
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Attorney Ethics & the Use of Credit Cards in Law Firms (Teleseminar)

1 CLE hour, including 1 Ethics hour

When: 01/16/2015
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Contact: (404) 521-0781

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An 800 number connects you to nationally recognized practice leaders who will speak on important issues and emerging trends in the law. You can also pose your own questions to the speakers. Written materials and other details are emailed in advance to pre-registrants.

Attorney Ethics & the Use of Credit Cards in Law Firms - 1 CLE hour, including 1 Ethics hour

As the use of credit and debit cards becomes more pervasive so does their use in the payment of attorneys’ fees and case costs, and their use in funding of retainers.  Many clients are accustomed to paying their expenses, large and small, with credit cards, whether out of ease, necessity or to gain benefit from third-party rewards programs.  For lawyers and law firms there are many advantages to accepting credit card payments, including the certainty of immediate payment.  But along with of advance of credit cards in the payment of lawyers’ fees there are series of substantial ethical issues that can make these payments ethically impermissible or highly risky, or so costly in terms of time and risk so as to make them unadvisable.  This program will provide you with a practical guide to ethical issues when lawyers and law firms accept credit card payments for their fees and costs, or to fund retainers.  

  • Ethical issues when clients use credit cards to pay attorneys’ fees, costs, and retainers 
  • Permissibility of 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
is a partner in the McLean, Virginia office of McGuireWoods, LLP, where he has a broad complex commercial, business and securities litigation practice. He also has a substantial practice advising businesses on properly creating and preserving the attorney-client privilege and work product protections.  For more than 20 years he has lectured extensively on legal ethics and professionalism and has written “The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner’s Guide,” a 750 page treatise published by the Virginia Law Foundation.  Mr. Spahn has served as member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and as a member of the Virginia State Bar's Legal Ethics Committee.  He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.


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