Supreme Court Rule 3.810 provides a mechanism for submitting to the KBA a dispute between an attorney and client regarding the amount of fee due the attorney for particular legal services rendered. Participation in Legal Fee Arbitration is generally voluntary. However, when the parties to the dispute have made a good faith effort to resolve it, they can choose to submit the dispute to binding arbitration under SCR 3.810. Legal Fee Arbitration is also available to attorneys when the dispute concerns the amount due each attorney for particular legal services rendered.
The process normally starts by the filing of a Petition, an Agreement to Arbitrate and a detailed summary of the pertinent facts and circumstances by one of the parties. The petition and information provided are reviewed by the Executive Director of the Kentucky Bar Association to determine whether the dispute complies with the provisions of SCR 3.810. If the Executive Director accepts jurisdiction of the dispute, the Petition is forwarded to the other party. The other party is then afforded the option to participate in the arbitration.
When both parties agree to participate in the arbitration the Executive Director appoints Arbitration Panel members who are licensed attorneys. When the amount in dispute is between $2,500.00 and $10,000.00 the Arbitration Panel will consist of one licensed attorney. When the amount in dispute is greater than $10,000.00 the Arbitration Panel will consist of two licensed attorneys and one non-lawyer member appointed by the Chief Circuit Judge of the county in which the Petitioner resides. The licensed attorney arbitrators are selected from a reasonable proximity of the county in which the Petitioner resides. Arbitration Panel members are not compensated for their time or services.
Once the Arbitration Panel is appointed the Panel Chair is responsible for scheduling the hearing and notifying the parties of the place and time. After the hearing, the Arbitration Panel will issue a written Award within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of the hearing. The Award generally contains a brief statement of the dispute, findings, conclusions and the amount, if any, to be paid or reimbursed. If necessary, the Award may be enforced pursuant to KRS 417.180.
For a brief summary of the steps in the Legal Fee Arbitration process click the link for a brochure.
The KBA Consumer Assistance Manager serves as the administrative point of contact for initiation of Legal Fee Arbitration. There is no charge to either party for Legal Fee Arbitration services provided by the Kentucky Bar Association.
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