Law firms are carefully examining the ethical and risk issues attaching to accepting crypto currency payments
The ‘feared’ litigation juggernaut Quinn Emanuel has indicated it will take crypto currency payments after examining the options of doing so.
The firm that is regarded by some as the firm most lawyers are afraid of seeing on the opposite side, says that their work in cryptocurrency matters, including recent client Ripple in respect of, among other matters, an option grant of 5 billion units of cryptocurrency XRP, sees the bitcoin payment mechanism as something of a no-brainer.
American Lawyer reported that Quinn Emanuel had carefully looked at the ethical implications of accepting cryptocurrencies before taking the leap into the crypo-payment world.
The firm said that it had started accepting BTC and other cryptocurrencies, including its first crypto payment last week from BitPay.
Founding partner John Quinn reportedly said that the firm is comfortable with adopting this type of a nontraditional payment as they have several clients in the financial technology sector, and they want to be flexible for their clients, adding that “Bitcoin is an easy and secure way to transfer funds, and we embrace it.”
Co-chair of Quinn Emanuel’s national trial practice group, Dave Grable, said that the firm has experience in handling matters in the fintech space and that there is an opportunity for payments with the younger companies and startup that are involved with cryptocurrency.
“This is another area where we’ve looked at the market use of blockchain and cryptocurrency,” Grable said.
He said the firm was comfortable with both the transparency and the security of the cryptocurrency process.
Not many law firms currently accept crypto payments, particularly large ones.
However a number – an increasing number of law firms – are looking at crypto payments, including Perkins Coie, Steptoe & Johnson and Frost Brown.
Apart from discussions on the efficacy and functionality of the nontraditional payments system and the technology behind it, some companies have already started educating themselves about these technologies so to be able to advise their clients on it.
Another point of discussion is if it’s ethical to accept crypto as a payment.
In September 2018, the Lawyers’ Advisory Committee in Nebraska decided that it is ethical and that lawyers in Nebraska can accept payments in crypto.
Among the concerns over the use of cryptocurrency payments for legal fees are the volatile valuations, which can lead to unethical overpayment for services.
John Reed, the president of John Reed Stark Consulting also said that the benefits of adopting crypto payments do not outweight the costs of doing so.
The jury is out on crypto currency payments for lawyers, but doubtless all eyes will be on Quinn Emanuel’s experiences with the payment system.