ATTORNEY CLIENT ECONOMIC DISPUTE COMMITTEE
The Attorney Client Economic Dispute Committee of the Westchester County Bar Association provides a public service to the community by offering to assist clients in resolving fee disputes with their Attorneys in Westchester County through non-binding mediation in the following areas:
(a) Disputes involving less than $1,000.00 or more than $50,000.00
(b) All criminal matters
(c) All other matters except matrimonial and family law matters commenced before January 1, 2002
(d) All matrimonial and family law matters commenced prior to November 30, 1993
(e) Any other matter where the client waives arbitration and consents in writing to non-binding mediation of the fee dispute before this Committee.
The mediators are lawyers who are members of this Committee. They volunteer their time without pay to perform this service to the community.
The mediation will only address whether the fee charged by the attorney was reasonable and will not include issues regarding the quality of the work, ethics or negligence. The mediation is confidential.
No fee is charged to the client for this service. If the parties cannot reach a resolution after attempting to mediate the dispute, then either the client or the attorney is free to seek recourse through the Courts.
Procedure in the Mediation Process before this Committee
The client notifies the Bar Association that he/she chooses non-binding mediation before the Committee. A mediator is then selected to mediate the dispute. A hearing is scheduled before the mediator. That hearing will take place either at the offices of the Bar Association or at the mediator’s office. The parties are required to be present at the mediation session, except for certain situations.
The mediation session will last between 45 to 60 minutes. There will be a introduction at the beginning of the session by the mediator. The client will then have 15 minutes to present his/her complaint and the attorney will then have 15 minutes to respond. The mediator may then choose to meet privately with the client first and then privately with and the attorney in an effort to resolve the fee dispute. The parties and the mediator will then meet together to try and reach a resolution of the dispute. The parties are then notified in writing of the result of the mediation.
What the Committee Does Not Do
1. Act as your attorney or otherwise represent either party.
2. Give legal advice regarding the merits or substance of the claim.
3. Discipline an attorney.
4. Recover your money or retrieve property.
If you are in need of more information about our Committee, please feel free to contact the Bar Association. Our Committee is here to help you and we look forward to servicing your needs. If you are interested in joining this Committee, please be advised that membership is by appointment by the WCBA President.
Please note that this Committee performs other services than Fee Dispute Arbitration under Part 137.