Currency Crunch: Getting Paid in Pounds, Pesos or Pulas

With more clients located abroad, attorneys are increasingly being paid in foreign currency.

Billing and receiving payment in foreign currency raises a host of questions, beginning when the client pays a retainer.  Some firms require that the client pay a retainer in the firm’s national currency; other firms accept payment in the client’s native currency, and then convert it themselves (bearing any currency fluctuation risk and often any currency transaction fees).

The ABA’s Law Practice magazine’s June issue discusses this topic in Dollars to Dinars: Billing and Collecting in a Global Market by David Bilinsky and Laura Calloway. The article also explores the pros and cons of bearing currency risk, implications for financial statements, whether to bill in a foreign currency, and the like.

Regardless of whether a law firm will receive British pounds, Mexican pesos or Botswanan pulas, advance planning and research prepares lawyers to be paid by international clients.

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