The Palo Alto Area Bar Association (“PAABA”) offers parties and their attorneys an opportunity to resolve fee disputes without going to court.
California Business & Professions Code sections 6200-6206 gives clients the right to request mandatory arbitration to dispute the fees and costs charged by their attorneys for professional services. This informal process allows parties to take oaths, present testimony, cross-examine witnesses, and produce documentary evidence that they feel substantiate their position regarding the fees and/or costs. The process is administered by trained PAABA volunteers.
Fee arbitration is voluntary for the client and mandatory for the attorney, unless the client has agreed in writing to arbitration of all disputes concerning fees, costs, or both. The subject matter of the arbitration is limited to issues of attorney fees and costs; the arbitrator may hear evidence, but will not issue an award, based upon any claims for affirmative relief against the attorney for damages or for claims based on alleged malpractice or professional misconduct.
PAABA administers fee arbitrations using the Rules for Conduct of Arbitration of Fee Disputes and Other Related Matters.
Forms and Resources for Fee Arbitration
FAQ about Fee Arbitration
The filing fee is $ 50 for disputes up to $1,000 or less;
$100 for disputes up to $1,001 to $ 5,000;
$150 for disputes up to $5,001.00 to $15,000; or
$250 for disputes over $15,001.
Please click on the appropriate button below to print our fee arbitration initiation documents. Once you have completed the form, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to PAABA, 407 California Ave., Suite 3, Palo Alto, CA 94306.