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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 120202 Find in a Library
Title: Arbitrating Lawyer-Client Fee Disputes: A National Survey
Author(s): T A Meehan
Corporate Author: Halt - An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform
United States of America
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Halt - An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform
Washington, DC 20004
Sale Source: Halt - An Organization of Americans for Legal Reform
1319 F Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20004
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A national survey was conducted in 1987 to determine if lawyer-client fee arbitration programs meet consumer needs.
Abstract: Telephone calls were made to the bars in all 50 States and the District of Columbia to ask if they provide fee arbitration. Thirty States and the District of Columbia said they offer fee arbitration statewide, 19 offer it at the local bar level, and 6 do not offer fee arbitration at any level. Of the 30 State bars and the District of Columbia providing fee arbitration statewide, 5 States offer mandatory systems that require lawyers to participate when the client requests it, while 26 States offer voluntary systems that ask both sides to agree in advance to binding arbitration. Twelve States with voluntary programs do not help clients when their attorneys refuse to participate, 23 States report that clients hear about fee arbitration most often by contacting the bar with a fee-related complaint, and 5 States charge a filing fee for processing cases through arbitration. Further, 12 States do not use nonlawyer arbitrators on panels, 29 States report that clients initiate fee arbitration more often than do their lawyers, and 9 States report that the average fee submitted to arbitration involves more than $2500. Finally, 21 States have no written rule that requires arbitrators to disclose if they have a conflict of interest in a case, 26 States keep proceedings and case documents confidential, and 14 States keep awards and opinions confidential. Survey results are tabulated by State in an appendix.
Main Term(s): Arbitration
Index Term(s): Attorney client relations; Dispute processing; Legal fees; State-by-state analyses
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