San Francisco Bay Area Attorneys
Handling Fee Disputes
The Business Aspect of Legal Fees
We believe that most fee disputes should be viewed as a business issue rather than a moral crusade. We will help you look at the bigger picture. We will review your billing methods with you and help you develop a more comprehensive and effective practice, so you can avoid future pitfalls.
Two types of fee disputes are more common than any other:
-Fee Dispute with a Client:
The first thing we do is help you resolve your case and move on as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
-Fee Dispute with a Fellow Attorney:
Whether you started or finished a case, or you joined forces with another attorney, disputes can arise when it comes time to distribute the legal fees. We are experienced in resolving these quantum meruit disputes.
In California, when a client has a legal fee dispute with their attorney, clients are allowed to bring their attorney to arbitration. At Fishkin & Slatter LLP, we understand how to present your case in a way that will make sense to the arbitrator. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Many disputes can be avoided by properly written fee agreements. If your fee agreement does not comply with the Business & Professions Code, the client can void it and pay you a "reasonable fee." The law governing attorney client fee agreements changes; last year's fee agreement may not comply with this year's laws. For example, effective January, 2010, attorneys are once again required to disclose to clients if the attorney does not carry malpractice insurance. Unlike the code section of the 1980’s, notice is required if you don’t currently have malpractice insurance; or if your insurance lapses.
Did you know that liens in hourly agreements require compliance with business transaction rules? Invalid lien clauses are unenforceable, and could subject you to a disciplinary prosecution besides.
Do you know the current case law governing arbitration clauses in attorney client fee agreements? We keep abreast of issues like this.
We can help you with proactive advice to avoid fee disputes and can assist you once a fee dispute has arisen.