Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert, which will discuss the recent (1/4/19) Florida Supreme Court opinion approving a revision to Florida Bar Rule 4-1.5(h), which will permit lawyers to charge a client the actual cost of accepting a credit payment. The amended rule(s) become effective March 5, 2019.
The Florida Supreme Court issued the opinion after The Florida Bar filed an omnibus petition proposing amendments to various Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The opinion approved the proposed amendment to Bar Rule 4-1.5(h) as follows:
“to replace the provision that “[n]o higher fee shall be charged and no additional charge shall be imposed by reason of a lawyer’s or law firm’s participation in a credit plan” with a statement that “[l]awyers may charge clients the actual charge the credit plan imposes on the lawyer for the client’s transaction.” By so doing, we hereby allow lawyers to pass on the actual costs resulting directly from a client’s choice to pay a bill or invoice with a credit card, or make payments under a credit plan, to that client.”
Bottom line: When it becomes effective on March 5, 2019, Florida Bar Rule 4-1.5(h) will permit lawyers to charge the client the actual credit merchant charges. This reverses the prior rule, which specifically prohibited charging the client for such merchant costs.
Be careful out there.
As always, if you have any questions about this Ethics Alert or need assistance, analysis, and guidance regarding ethics, risk management, or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Disclaimer: this e-mail is not an advertisement, does not contain any legal advice, and does not create an attorney/client relationship and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
29605 U.S. Highway 19 N. Suite 150
Clearwater, Florida 33761
Office (727) 799-1688
Fax (727) 799-1670