State Bar Programs / Part VI - Arbitration of Fee Disputes / Preamble
Download and print a copy of the Fee Arbitration Rules
The purpose of the State Bar of Georgia’s program for the arbitration of fee disputes is to provide a convenient mechanism for the resolution of disputes (1) between lawyers and clients over fees; (2) between lawyers in connection with the dissolution of a practice or the withdrawal of a lawyer from a partnership or practice; or (3) between lawyers concerning the allocation of fees earned from joint services. If the parties to such a dispute have been unable to reach an agreement between or among themselves, either side may petition the State Bar Committee on the Arbitration of Attorney Fee Disputes (“Committee”) to arbitrate the dispute pursuant to these rules.
Regardless of whether a lawyer or a client initiates the filing of a petition requesting arbitration of the dispute, the petitioner must agree to be bound by the result of the arbitration. This is intended to discourage the filing of complaints that are frivolous or that seek to invoke the process simply to obtain an “advisory opinion.” If the respondent also agrees to be bound, the resulting arbitration award will be enforceable under the Georgia Arbitration Code, O.C.G.A. § 9-9-1 et seq.
A unique feature of this program is that, if a client initiates the arbitration process and agrees to be bound by the result of the arbitration and the respondent lawyer refuses to be bound by any resulting award, the matter will still be submitted to arbitration if, after investigation by the Committee or its staff, the client’s claim appears to warrant a hearing.
If the client prevails in the arbitration, the State Bar of Georgia, upon the written request of the client, may provide a lawyer to represent the client in post-award proceedings at no cost other than court filing fees and litigation expenses. Alternatively, the Office of the General Counsel of the State Bar of Georgia may represent, assist, or advise a client in post-award proceedings.
GO TO CHAPTER 1 COMMITTEE ON ARBITRATION OF ATTORNEY FEE DISPUTES GO TO Part VI Return to handbook browser.