When Mom and Dad Are Paying the Bills: The Ethics of Payments by Third Parties

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Course Information

Time 60 Minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

This ethics course will analyze attorneys' duties and obstacles when a third-party is footing the bill. Using the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct as a guideline, the course will address the steps that should be taken to protect the client's best interest. It will also look at the law of privilege and waiver and rules governing the representation of multiple parties, and how those concepts apply to payments by third parties. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the ABA Model Rules at play when a third party is paying the bills. The Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct (and the relevant comments to those rules) will also be used as an example to assess common points of divergence from the Model Rules
  2. Analyze privilege and waiver issues that may apply when a third party is paying the bills and when the third party might want access to key case information or strategy
  3. Consider whether it is possible or advisable to extend the scope of the representation to include the third-party payor


Credit Information

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Jesse Binnall

Harvey & Binnall, PLLC

Jesse R. Binnall is a partner at Harvey & Binnall, PLLC. He has tried cases in state and federal courts in various jurisdictions throughout the United States. Mr. Binnall’s practice focuses on civil litigation, white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, international disputes, business and non-profit law, appellate litigation, election law, virtual currencies (i.e. Bitcoin), parliamentary law and procedure, and alternative dispute resolution (i.e. arbitration and mediation). He also is proud to help companies develop innovative legal strategies to combat overregulation and government cyber-snooping. Many of Mr. Binnall’s clients use his knowledge to take active steps to avoid the courtroom entirely. He advises entrepreneurs on business formation, contractors on complex construction negotiations, and political candidates and committees on election law matters. He also is proud of his accomplishments working as a productive and collaborative member of civil and criminal joint defense teams.

Mr. Binnall has been a featured guest, discussing law and technology issues, on various new and traditional media outlets, including the Huffington Post, the New York Times, Wired, Forbes, DemocracyNow, the Ron Paul Channel, and Lawyer2Laywer. He has been selected as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers. Only 2% of Virginia lawyers are selected to receive this honor. He is also rated as “Excellent” by Avvo.com.

Before starting his career as an attorney, Mr. Binnall was a professional parliamentarian and public relations consultant. He continues to advise organizations large and small on meeting procedure (including Robert’s Rules of Order), bylaw drafting and interpretation, and other parliamentary matters. Mr. Binnall is an avid private pilot. He also enjoys sailing, and SCUBA diving.