CBA Fee Arbitration Program

The Columbus Bar Association offers, at no cost to participants, a fee arbitration program as a means of settling fee disputes between attorneys and clients. Before arbitration can be considered, the parties must first have made a good faith attempt to settle the dispute between themselves. Either a client or an attorney may request arbitration. Fee arbitration will not resolve allegations of malpractice or violations of professional ethics.

A client is not required to arbitrate a fee dispute. Once the client signs an agreement to arbitrate, however, the results of arbitration are binding. Attorneys are required by the Rules for the Government of the Bar of the Supreme Court of Ohio (Rule V 4[G]) to cooperate with a fee arbitration process, if requested to do so.

Fee Arbitration hearings are held at the Columbus Bar Association, and should last no more than two (2) hours. While the hearings are designed to be informal, each party may bring with them any witnesses or documents that might prove helpful in resolving the dispute.

The hearing panel will consist of one, two or three arbitrators depending on the amount in dispute. At least one member of the panel will be an attorney. The panel will have no advance information about the dispute unless the parties otherwise agree, except for knowing the names of the parties involved so the arbitrators can conduct conflict checks. Therefore, all parties must come to the arbitration prepared to present all evidence that they want the panel to consider. After the arbitrators sign the Fee Arbitration Award form and deliver it to the Columbus Bar Association, the Association will mail copies of the decision to the parties. Within ten (10) days of receiving that decision, the parties must comply with the Arbitration Award.

If you are interested in participating in the Fee Arbitration Program, complete the enclosed forms and return them to the Columbus Bar Association in the envelope provided. We will then contact the opposing party. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Fee Arbitration Department at 614/221.4112.