The Florida Bar

Complaint Alternatives

ACAP Hotline

The Attorney/Consumer Assistance Program (ACAP) helps consumers deal with with common attorney-client issues — such as fee disputes, lack of communication or failure to return client property.

Fee Dispute Programs

The Bar offers two fee dispute programs, Fee Arbitration and Grievance Mediation, that may help consumers resolve fee disputes with their lawyers. Both programs are free and voluntary, so they require the consent of both parties.

Fee Arbitration

Fee arbitration is much like a mini-trial where an arbitrator makes a final and binding decision about the dispute after hearing the parties’ testimony and receiving evidence.  The arbitration process is free and voluntary, and it may be initiated by either the lawyer or the client.

Grievance Mediation

Mediation is where a neutral person (the mediator) helps the parties reach a mutually agreeable solution to their dispute. Mediation is free and voluntary, and it may be initiated by either the lawyer or the client.

To start the mediation process, call 850-561-3166 .

See also: Grievance Mediation Consumer Pamphlet

Local Professionalism Panels

Each judicial circuit has a panel composed of local lawyers who have been appointed review complaints about lawyers’ perceived unprofessional behavior. This may be done informally by phone or more formally by email or regular mail. A local panel member will attempt to resolve the complaint informally if possible, or may choose to refer it to the Attorney Consumer Assistance Program (ACAP) for further action.

Trouble communicating with your lawyer?

Consider the following:

  • Call the lawyer’s office and leave a message for a return call.
  • If you do not receive a return call within a reasonable period of time, write a letter to the lawyer, preferably with return receipt requested, and explain your concerns as politely and as thoroughly as possible. Though a letter might not solve your problem, it demonstrates a good-faith effort to resolve your matter without filing a formal complaint.

If your problem is not resolved, call ACAP (1-866-352-0707) to discuss your options.

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