Ethics Committee Formal Opinion #1984/5 1
September 11, 1984
A credit card may be used for the payment of legal fees and a lawyer may enter into the standard “Merchant Agreement” with the credit card issuer provided the lawyer enters into a fee agreement in which the client consents to limited disclosure concerning the client to a third party and the imposition of interest charges. Canon 2 and 5
Where a credit card is used for a retainer, in the event the lawyer withdraws or the representation is terminated, the lawyer must promptly refund any balance in cash or issue a credit to the card holder’s account. Supreme Court Rule 50 (2)(C); DR 2-110(A)(3).
A lawyer willing to accept credit card payments may advertise that fact. DR 2-101.
- May a lawyer accept credit cards for the payment of legal fees?
- May a lawyer who accepts credit cards advertise that fact to clients and prospective clients?
- May credit cards be used for payment of retainers or advances for services not yet rendered?
- May a lawyer use the standard “Merchant Agreement” or must a special agreement be approved by the Bar Association?