When should I file a fee dispute arbitration application?
It is best if an attorney and the client can come to an agreement by taking time to communicate. Often, a meeting between the parties where all concerns are openly discussed resolves the problem before it escalates to a fee dispute arbitration hearing. However, if all efforts at agreement have failed, a fee dispute arbitration is a good option.
How does mediation differ from arbitration?
If the parties agree to mediation, the Committee will assign a skilled arbitrator to bring everyone together and find a compromise that everyone agrees to. This is a good first step at resolving the issue before arbitration. If the mediation does not work, the matter will be forwarded to an arbitrator for an arbitration hearing. Mediators can be attorneys or lay members with experience serving in that capacity.
Who serves as the arbitrators?
If a single arbitrator is appointed hear the matter (dispute of $10,000 or less), that arbitrator will be an attorney. If a three member arbitration panel is appointed (dispute of $10,000 or more), then at least one member will be an attorney. The other two panel members may be non-attorneys.
What if the attorney has filed suit against me already?
A fee dispute may be submitted up until the time a judge makes a decision on the matter. If you are asked to appear in court before your fee dispute has finished, you may advise the judge that you have submitted a fee dispute to the State Bar of Nevada and ask the judge to delay the matter until it has been arbitrated. However, if the judge does not grant your request and makes a decision, the Fee Dispute Committee cannot proceed with arbitration.
Can an attorney file a fee dispute against a client?
Yes, both attorneys and clients may file an application for fee dispute arbitration with the State Bar. For more information, click on this link for a November 2009 Nevada Lawyer article on the subject: http://www.nvbar.org/publications/nevadalawyer/2009/november/practicetips.htm.