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Fee Arbitration

The State Bar of Georgia’s Fee Arbitration Program is a service provided to the public and the attorneys of Georgia. This Program provides a convenient mechanism for the resolution of fee disputes between attorneys and clients, and between attorneys in connection with the dissolution of a practice or the withdrawal of an attorney from a partnership or practice; or between attorneys concerning the allocation of fees earned from joint services.

The Fee Arbitration Program is designed to ensure that the public can address attorney fee disputes without having to navigate the court system alone or without hiring another attorney for assistance in the specific dispute. Attorneys also benefit from participating in the Fee Arbitration Program because this confidential Program keeps the dispute out of the public court system. Our program only offers binding arbitration, meaning Petitioners and Respondents must agree to be bound by the rules and the outcome of the Award if they wish to participate in the program. This binding arbitration helps ensure that all Awards can be enforced if that additional formal process becomes is necessary.

Attorneys and/or clients can initiate attorney fee dispute complaints by filing a form called a Petition for Fee Arbitration. Fee Arbitration is offered at no cost to the attorney or the public in attorney/client fee disputes. 

In fee disputes between attorneys and/or law firms, all attorneys involved must initiate the complaint by filing a Joint Petition for Fee Arbitration for Attorneys or Law Firms. This service is offered to attorneys and law firms for a nominal fee. A panel of three attorney arbitrators hears the case if jurisdiction is accepted. 

Fee Arbitration hearings are held at the State Bar of Georgia headquarters in downtown Atlanta, in the State Bar of Georgia’s local Tifton or Savannah offices, or on virtual meeting platforms, like Zoom, to ensure that arbitration is easily accessible. Most of our arbitration hearings are conducted by two experienced attorneys and one non-attorney. Like judges, arbitrators hear arguments from both sides and decide the outcome of the dispute. Arbitrators and both parties are allowed to request reasonable discovery if/when a hearing date is set. Additionally, arbitrators can request additional evidence during a hearing to ensure they are well informed when issuing an Award.

Understanding Arbitration

Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution, is a formal process for resolving disputes without going to court. Sometimes people confuse arbitration and mediation, so the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution’s Rules define Arbitration by saying, “Arbitration differs from mediation in that an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators renders a decision after hearing an abbreviated version of the evidence. The essential difference between mediation and arbitration is that arbitration is a form of adjudication, whereas mediation is not.”

Attorney/Client Petition

Please take this time to review our Fee Arbitration Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Fee Arbitration Rules prior to filing a Petition for Fee Arbitration.

  • Download the Attorney/Client Petition.
  • Please note: Please read the Fee Arbitration Rules, FAQs and introduction letter prior to filing the Petition. Failure to complete the Petition and follow the instructions may result in your file being delayed or closed. Additionally, modifications of this form’s texts and/or language will result in your submission being returned.

Becoming An Arbitrator

Attorneys who are interested in serving as Arbitrators may call the Fee Arbitration program at 404-527-8750. Non-attorneys who are interested in serving as arbitrators are also encouraged to call the Fee Arbitration Program at 404-527-8750 to receive an interest form. Non-attorney arbitrators are selected by the Supreme Court of Georgia. Professional associations and background checks are required.

Contact Us

Call 404-527-8750. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Click here to view the list of Fee Arbitration Committee Members.