The State Bar's Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program is an informal, confidential, and lower-cost forum for resolving fee disputes between lawyers and their clients. This kind of arbitration is required for a lawyer if requested by a client. For more information or assistance, call the State Bar Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program at 415-538-2020
Should I agree to binding arbitration?
The decision to choose nonbinding or binding arbitration is entirely up to you.
Fee arbitrations are nonbinding unless the parties agree in writing, after the dispute arises, to binding arbitration before the arbitrator takes any evidence. If only one of the parties agrees to binding arbitration, or if a party fails to respond, the matter will proceed as nonbinding arbitration.
If neither party files an action in court rejecting the award and requesting a trial within 30 days after the award is mailed, a nonbinding award will automatically become binding on the parties.
If the arbitration is binding, the award is considered to be final, and neither you nor the lawyer can request a new trial in court. A binding award can only be corrected or vacated by a court for very limited reasons.