This committee was established to provide arbitration assistance to attorneys and clients regarding conflicts over billings. The committee has established local rules of procedure for the handling of fee disputes and a complete set of forms to allow expeditious rendition of awards. Forms and rules may be obtained through the bar association office upon written request.
The purpose of the committee is not limited to the arbitration of disputes. The process serves as a communicative link between attorney and client in a period of distress. It is designed to foster better relations and to provide an informal forum for the resolution of disputes. The program is aided by the voluntary efforts of members of the association who sit as arbitrators. Every effort is made to secure arbitrators who have expertise and practical experience in the field in which the cases handled by the attorney arise as an aid to accurate fee evaluations.
- There are specific time constraints which may preclude you from requesting arbitration.
- A client maintains the right to arbitrate a fee dispute unless he/she specifically waives that right.
- The Fresno County Bar Association does not have the authority to discipline attorneys. If you wish to file a formal complaint against an attorney, such complaint must be filed directly with the State Bar of California.
Disputes concerning fees, costs, or both charged for professional services by an attorney are subject to arbitration under these rules, except for:
- disputes where the attorney is also admitted to practice in another state, and he or she maintains no office in the State of California, and no material portion of the services was rendered in the State of California (section 6200(b)(1)); or
- disputes where the client seeks affirmative relief against the attorney for damages or otherwise based upon alleged malpractice or professional misconduct (section 6200 (b)(2)); or
- disputes where the fees and/or costs to be paid by the client or on his or her behalf has been determined pursuant statute or court order (section 6200 (b)(3));
A client's right to request or maintain arbitration is waived if the client:
- fails to request arbitration within thirty (30) days after receipt of the notice from the attorney (section 6201(a)); or
- answers a complaint in a civil action or equivalent response in another arbitration proceeding before filing a request for arbitration if notice of the client's right to arbitration was given pursuant to the Business and Professions Code sections 6201(a) and 6201 (b); or
- commences an action or files any pleading seeking judicial resolution of a fee and/or cost dispute or seeking affirmative relief against the attorney for damages or otherwise based upon alleged malpractice or professional misconduct (sections 6200(b)(2) and 6201(d)); or
- fails to send to the FCBA a request for arbitration on the approved State Bar form that is postmarked on or before the 30th day from receipt of the form entitled "Notice of Client's Right to Arbitration" given pursuant to Rule 4.
Fee Arbitration Committee
Cheryl Browns, Administrator
Robert Koligian, Co-Administrator
Anita Martinez, Executive Director
Angelica Nunez, FCBA Administrator’s Assistant
K. Poncho Baker
R. Frank Butler
Michael J. Gomez
H. Ty Kharazi
William M. Krieg
Karen L. Lynch
William L. Schmidt
Michael J.F. Smith
Kurt F. Vote