Are you finding it difficult to settle fee disputes with lawyer? Are you not convinced with the billing statements send to you by him/her? If yes, you need not worry as there are several ways to work out all your issues. Most people end up either suing their attorneys or reporting them to the Bar Association. But, these are not the best ways to solve your problems. In fact, suing a lawyer can make the situation even worse as considering a legal malpractice claim against a lawyer is not only costly, but also very difficult to prove. Therefore, it is always better to go for alternative options to resolve the billing issues.
The best alternative to going to court is ‘Arbitration’. It is nothing but a voluntary intercession program offered by state bar associations to help people resolve their billing issues with their attorneys. It involves a neutral third party, called the ‘arbitrator’, who takes into account all the evidence and documents provided by the two parties and issues a written decision on what the ‘appropriate fee’ should be. This written decision issued to the client a few days after the process is over is termed as an ‘award’.
The arbitration program is of 2 types: Binding and Nonbinding. In the first type, the client and the attorney are required to abide by the arbitrator’s final decision. However, in the second type, the client is free to move to the court if he/she is not satisfied with the issued award.
These intercession services are offered in as many as 41 states in the United States. In fact, in some states, namely, Alaska, California, Maine, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota, this program is mandatory for all those who wish to proceed to a court to settle fee disputes. In other states, it is up to you to decide what suits you best, an expensive litigation or a less formal and a cheaper alternative.