Definitions & Overview of Programs

Fee Arbitration

If you are having a fee disagreement with your lawyer, you can participate in our Fee Arbitration Program.

During Fee Arbitration both you and your attorney have a chance to present your evidence to an arbitrator. The arbitrator evaluates the evidence and makes a decision.

To begin, go to “Fee Disputes with Your Lawyer” and download and fill out the requested documents and follow all instructions.

When we receive your documentation, we will contact your lawyer, so that he or she is also notified that you wish to arbitrate a fee dispute.

During the arbitration, you present your evidence to the arbitrator. Your attorney also presents his or her evidence to the arbitrator.

The arbitrator then takes this evidence and makes a decision. This decision is legally binding, or non-binding, depending on what you and your lawyer agreed upon when you started the process.

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Fee Mediation

Fee Mediation is an option you may take at the time you request to participate in arbitration, as described above.

During Fee Mediation, a mediator will help you and your lawyer communicate, and hopefully reach a settlement between the two of you.

The settlement is legally binding. It is a process that allows you and your lawyer to communicate in a more positive environment with someone who is experienced in helping two parties resolve a dispute.

Mediation can be less formal and less stressful than going to court or participating in the Fee Arbitration process. You also have more control.

You and your lawyer must both agree to mediation. The mediation part of the program is voluntary. You cannot force your lawyer into mediation, and your lawyer cannot force you into mediation.

During the mediation, you will discuss your position with the mediator. Your attorney will also discuss his or her case with the mediator. And the mediator helps you communicate and hopefully reach a settlement.

If you and your lawyer do not agree to mediation, then the fee dispute goes back to the Fee Arbitration process.

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Legally Binding & Non-Binding Arbitration

Once you choose to participate in our Fee Arbitration Program (read program details above), you will be given the option of non-binding arbitration or legally binding arbitration.

Legally Binding Arbitration

This is a component under the Fee Arbitration program. Once the arbitrator hears evidence in your case, he or she will make a decision for you and your lawyer that is legally binding for both of you.

This means that both you and your lawyer cannot appeal or take the decision any further (except under very limited circumstances). You must abide by the decision.

Non-binding Arbitration

This is also a component under the Fee Arbitration program. Once the arbitrator hears evidence in your case, he or she will make a decision for you and your lawyer.

In this case, if you are not satisfied with the decision, you may file an action with the proper court within 30 days.

A non-binding arbitration automatically becomes binding after 30 days if no further action is taken.

If you choose non-binding, simply check the box where indicated on the request form. No further forms are required.

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Client Relations Committee

  • Are you having trouble communicating with your lawyer?
  • Is there a dispute with your lawyer about something other than your bill?
  • Do you feel your lawyer is not doing what you’ve asked?
  • Have you asked your attorney for records, and you’re not getting them?

Our Client Relations Committee can help.

Definitions

Fee Arbitration Program

The Fee Arbitration Program is designed to help you resolve a fee dispute with your attorney without going to court.

The lawyers and other professionals involved in this program have a strong commitment toward assisting the public. They have volunteered their time and expertise to help you resolve your fee dispute without going to court.

There is an administrative fee to file your request and documentation, but going to court is certain to cost much more. Save time, money and hassle. Participate!

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Arbitrator

An arbitrator is a qualified attorney who must meet certain requirements and is trained to be an arbitrator before being assigned to your case.

An arbitrator will gather evidence from both you and your lawyer, listen to your statements, and make a decision. This decision could, or could not, be legally binding.

The arbitrator is a neutral professional and has no financial, official or personal interest in the fee dispute between you and your lawyer.

Most arbitrators are usually lawyers, but there is always one non-lawyer arbitrator on a three-person panel.

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Legally Binding Arbitration

Once the arbitrator hears evidence in your case, he or she will make a decision for you and your lawyer that is legally binding for both of you.

This means that both you and your lawyer cannot appeal or take the decision any further except under very limited circumstances. You must abide by the decision.

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Non-Binding Arbitration

Once the arbitrator hears evidence in your case, he or she will make a decision for you and your lawyer that is non-binding, if you and your attorney have not opted for binding arbitration.

This means that if you are unsatisfied with the arbitrator’s decision, you have 30 days to file a new action in court.

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Mediator

A mediator is a qualified attorney, or non-attorney professional who must meet certain requirements and is trained to be a mediator before being assigned to your case.

The mediator will help you negotiate with your lawyer to hopefully reach a settlement without going to Court or continuing to Fee Arbitration.

The mediator is a neutral individual and has no financial, official or personal interest in the fee dispute between you and your lawyer.

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