If you have been unable to resolve the fee bill dispute with your lawyer through discussion alone, you may want to consider mediating or arbitrating the dispute.
Generally, mediations are informal and are non-binding. A mediator does not make a decision as does an arbitrator or judge in a case. But a skilled mediator can help you and the lawyer come to a just and equitable settlement of the fee bill dispute. Rules of evidence and other legal procedures that apply in a court of law are generally not applicable in a mediation. Also mediations are less stressful than arbitrations. And if you do not like the outcome of a mediation, you are not bound by it. Thus, you can represent yourself in a mediation.
Arbitrations, on the other hand, are more formal and can be more like a trial with an arbitrator or arbitration panel acting like a judge in a civil trial. Arbitrations tend to be binding which means that once you sign on to arbitrate the dispute you are bound by the outcome. While arbitrations may not have all of the same rules that a regular court would have, certain arbitration rules that will apply. Because of this and because of the binding nature of an arbitration, you should consider having an experienced attorney represent you at an arbitration.
If you live in a large county, the county’s bar association may have a fee dispute mediation or arbitration program. If you cannot find the phone number or e-mail address for your county’s local bar association, contact the county court clerk’s office for help.
If your county bar association does not have a fee bill dispute mediation or arbitration program, there may be such programs available through the state bar association. The American Bar Association maintains an online directory of state bar Fee Arbitration Committees. This directory has complete telephone and e-mail contact information. In addition, many state bar associations also provide publications to the public on how to work with an attorney to resolve a fee billing dispute.
If you decide to try mediation or arbitration of any of the resources that might be available to individual clients in your county or state to a fee bill dispute with an attorney, you will still need to have the specific information needed to convince a mediator or arbitrator or a third party of your position. Arming you with this specific information needed is what LegalBillAudit.com can do for you. So why not take the first step today and go to the “Request an Evaluation” page and allow LegalBillAudit.com to do a FREE evaluation of your legal bills to determine if significant overbilling is present.