Bar program designed to resolve fee disputes quickly
A little research, and an updated fee agreement, could spare clients and attorneys a lot of time and expense, assures veteran Ft. Lauderdale attorney Steven B. Lesser.
“One of the most uncomfortable issues we deal with as lawyers is when we have a fee dispute with a client,” Lesser said.
Board certified in construction law, Lesser’s day job is chair of Becker’s Construction Law and Litigation Practice Group.
A certified circuit civil mediator, Lesser is also vice chair of the Bar’s Grievance Mediation and Fee Arbitration Standing Committee.
The committee administers the Grievance Mediation and Fee Arbitration Program, approves mediators and arbitrators, and makes recommendations to the Board of Governors for improving the program. An invaluable resource, the program is something of a hidden gem, Lesser said.
“This program allows both attorneys and clients to resolve their fee disputes quickly, conveniently, and at no cost to the parties,” he said. “For most attorneys and clients, they have no knowledge that this valuable service from The Florida Bar exists.”
The committee is launching an outreach program to educate attorneys about the benefits of using the program to resolve fee disputes quickly.
“We are encouraging members to include appropriate language in their fee agreements for mandatory arbitrations of fee disputes,” said ACAP Intake Director Shanell Schuyler. “Utilizing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as arbitration to resolve fee disputes is a Professionalism Expectation which helps to ‘promote the public good and to foster the reputation of the legal profession while protecting our system of equal justice under the law.’”
“Our volunteers have experience and training in resolving fee disputes, which means that both parties can feel confident that their dispute is being adjudicated by a fair and independent authority,” Lesser said.
Contact Shanell Schuyler, [email protected], if you have questions about utilizing the program.