05 October 2018

Canadian firm accepting crypto-currency for legal services

Calgary firm McLeod Law is now accepting crypto-currency for its legal services, giving clients the option to pay in Bitcoin.

The Calgary law firm working in the fintech and crypto-currency space has begun accepting payment for its legal services in Bitcoin, according to a report by the Canadian Lawyer magazine.

All 'part and parcel'

McLeod Law announced its fintech group is leading the way by offering the option to some clients as an alternative way to pay their legal bills. The firm is using Coinsquare, a crypto-currency exchange provider, and the firm offers secure payment in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether and other digital currencies. Matthew Burgoyne, associate at McLeod Law and head of the firm’s fintech group, says ‘I act for a number of individuals and businesses in this space, so it was about trying to address the demand from people in the crypto-currency industry that I act for.’ Accepting Bitcoin, he says, is ‘part and parcel’ of establishing the practice group. The firm first accepted Bitcoin for services in 2014 and trialed it with a few clients, but ceased due to the fluctuations and a lack of credible crypto-currency exchange platforms at the time. Mr Burgoyne says, ‘we have evolved since 2014 and there are more credible exchanges out there, so I thought why not get a business account for our firm? When dealing with clients in the emerging company space, they may be Bitcoin and Ether heavy but cash poor, so why not give them an opportunity as an alternative way to pay their legal bills?’

Law society support

The law society of Alberta accepted the move, and in January issued a memo ‘Bartering Legal Services’ setting out guidelines for accepting payments other than cash or credit. Mr Burgoyne said, ‘the law society encouraged me to do and what our firm wanted to do is accept the payment in crypto-currency and immediately sell it for Canadian dollars on the exchange and initiate a wire transfer of the Canadian dollars from the exchange into our trust account.’ The firm is not holding the crypto-currency for any period of time. Elsewhere in Canada, Susan Tonkin, spokesperson for the law society of Ontario, told Canadian Lawyer ‘there is nothing in our rules and bylaws that restricts how a licensee is reimbursed for legal services provided to a client that have been completed and properly billed.’