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Fee Dispute Committees Excellent Way to Resolve Client Fee Disputes

By Laura L. Chastain

Have a dispute with your client over your fee? An excellent way to resolve such a dispute is through a bar association fee dispute committee.

As Disciplinary Counsel, over the years, I have found that many complaints to the Board of Professional Responsibility are generated by clients who are in a dispute with their lawyer over their fee. Many such complaints originate after the lawyer has begun collection remedies.

A good way to avoid such complaints or minimize the likelihood that an extensive investigation will ensue is to submit the dispute to the arbitration of a bar association fee dispute committee.

All major areas of the state offer such service through the local bar association. Nashville, Kingsport, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga bar associations have fee dispute committees. In May, 2004, the Bristol, Tennessee Bar Association announced the formation of a fee dispute committee.

It has been my experience that the decisions of these committees are fair to both lawyer and client and offer an immense service to both. It is a very worthwhile service of local bar associations and one that bar associations should consider adding to their list of services to the profession.

Inside Board Notes
Ethics Opinion Spotlight - By Laura Chastain
Disciplinary Actions - By William W. "Tripp" hunt, III


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