The Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services provides the following professional services:
• Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services
• Law Practice Mediation Program
• Attorney-Client Arbitration Program
Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services
The Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services program (ACMAS) offers parties an opportunity to resolve fee disputes as an economical alternative to the court system. Under Business and Professions Code Sections 6200-6206, clients have the right to request mandatory arbitration to dispute fees and costs charged by an attorney for professional services. Trained volunteers administer mediation and arbitration services for the Los Angeles County Bar Association's program, which is the largest in the state. The informal process allows parties to take oaths, give testimony, present and cross-examine witnesses and produce documentation that the parties feel substantiate his or her position concerning the fees and costs.
In addition to arbitration, parties may agree to submit the fee dispute to mediation. The process is voluntary, so each party must agree in writing before the session proceeds. All mediators must meet criteria set by the Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services Executive Arbitration Committee and serve pro bono for the first three hours of service. If the parties see progress and desire to continue with mediation after the first three hours, they agree in advance to share the mediator's modest hourly rate that is no more than $150 under the fee mediation rules.
Unless the client has agreed in writing to arbitration of all disputes concerning fees, costs, or both, arbitration shall be voluntary for a client and mandatory for an attorney if commenced by a client.
ACMAS will handle fee disputes requested by attorneys against clients, attorneys, and in certain cases, insurance companies. These arbitration initiated by attorneys are voluntary, which means that all parties must agree in writing to participate in the arbitration process.
For more information, contact Sharron McLawyer, Director of Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services at (213) 896-6541.
Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services Client Petition for Arbitration Application
Notice of Client Fee Dispute Obligations
Other Forms and Documents
Law Practice Mediation Program
The Law Practice Mediation Program (LPMP) provides lawyers with a confidential forum to resolve a wide range of practice issues privately and expeditiously. Parties can resolve a number of disputes that may arise within an attorney's practice and in relation to another law firm. Mediators for the program have experience in resolving business, partnership and employment matters. Parties interested in participating in the Law Practice Mediation Program must pay an administrative fee and pay an equal share of the mediator’s hourly rate.
Besides handling attorney disputes, the Law Practice Mediation Program is an alternative through which parties may submit all types of attorney-client disputes that may include claims of: document or file ownership, malpractice, ethics, and other performance issues. Parties may also submit disputes that fall under the Business and Professions Code Sections 6200-6206 when the parties wish to "opt out" of voluntary mediation conducted through the mandatory fee arbitration program to enter mediation without the necessity of submitting a request for mandatory arbitration.
This is just a sample of the types of cases appropriate for law practice mediation:
For more information, contact Sharron McLawyer, Director of Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services, at (213) 896-6541
- Internal office disputes involving partners, associates,staff attorneys,and support staff (including fee allocation)
- Disputes concerning firm names
- Partnership dissolution, firm break, or retirement; firm to firm disputes
- Litigation disputes arising from the employment of expert witnesses
- Liability for sanctions, expenses incurred, or other issues
Attorney-Client Arbitration Program
Parties may submit a matter to arbitration after exhaustion of their rights under Business and Professions Code 6200-6206 if they previously agreed in writing to submit all disputes regarding fees, costs or both to arbitration before the Los Angeles County Bar Association when they entered the attorney client relationship. The Attorney Client Arbitration Program (ACAP) is a confidential, affordable alternative to the court system. The arbitrators are experienced in handling and resolving fee disputes, as they must meet specific requirements that include the handling of cases submitted to mandatory arbitration. The parties choose the arbitrator in this process and the proceeding will take place at a mutually agreeable location chosen by the parties that is acceptable to the arbitrator. In order to initiate arbitration, a party must submit a completed demand for arbitration and administrative fee of $500 that is applied to the arbitrator's fee. Parties participating in ACAP pay an equal share of the arbitrator's hourly rate that is payable in advance of the hearing.
There are several ways parties may enter ACAP:
By having in place a written retainer agreement which provides for binding arbitration before LACBA after the parties may have exhausted their rights for fee arbitration under Business and Professions Code Section 6200,
By submitting in writing, a Stipulation agreeing to have all disputes between the attorney and the client resolved by arbitration before LACBA. The Stipulation should include all identifying information of all the parties and, if necessary, their attorneys or other representatives; the issues to be determined by the Arbitrator; the amount of money involved, if any, and any other remedies requested,
When a retainer agreement between an attorney and a client provides for binding arbitration of all disputes after exhaustion, if necessary, of client's rights under Business and Professions Code Section 6200, the arbitration under these rules may be initiated by one party serving on all other parties notice of the nature of the claim and demand for Arbitration.
An attorney can add language to his existing agreement to take advantage of the services provided through the Attorney Client Arbitration Program. The following language can fit into any retainer agreement or engagement letter and permission is given for its use:
(a) MANDATORY FEE ARBITRATION
You have the right to elect to have any dispute relating to attorney's fees under this [contract/agreement/engagement letter] submitted to the Los Angeles County Bar Association, for Arbitration by the Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Service Program pursuant to California Business and Professions Code Section 6200 et seq.
(b) BINDING ARBITRATION
In the event either of us seeks a hearing after arbitration of a fee dispute or in connection with any other dispute relating to, or arising from, our professional services in this or other matters in which we provide services to you, you and we agree that the dispute(s) shall be resolved by binding arbitration before the Los Angeles County Bar Association, in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of Dispute Resolution Services, Inc., in effect at that time, including our mutual obligations of cooperation and disclosure. IN SO DOING, WE BOTH GIVE UP OUR RIGHTS TO A JURY TRIAL AND TO AN APPEAL, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY LAW.
Any party interested in submitting a fee dispute to ACAP may contact the program to request that a demand form and rules be mailed to them. Parties may obtain a copy of the program rules and demand form by accessing them through LACBA's "Docs on Demand" page.
For more information, contact Sharron McLawyer, Director of Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services, at (213) 896-6541. Fax number is: (213) 833-6718.
To Contact LACBA:
||1055 W. 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017