How Fee Arbitration Works
- Assignment of Arbitration to Hearing Panel A single member of the fee arbitration committee will hear the matter if the amount in dispute is $5,000 or less. Otherwise, a panel of three members, one of whom is not an attorney, is selected from a local standing committee in the community where the legal services were provided. There are local standing committees in Anchorage/Kenai, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Special arrangements are made for disputes in communities outside these areas.
- The Hearing You and the attorney will be given twenty (20) days advance notice of the hearing. The arbitrator or chairperson conducts the hearing and decides what testimony and documents may be used as evidence. Relevant and reliable evidence will be admitted. If you or the attorney fails to appear at the hearing, the hearing may proceed in that person?s absence. Special procedures may be used by you or the attorney to: Submit a written statement in addition to, or instead of, testimony at the hearing; Submit witness affidavits instead of a witness presenting testimony in person; And participate by conference call. The cost of the call generally is paid by the party requesting it.
- The Decision The hearing panel will make its decision within thirty (30) days after the close of the hearing. The decision must be agreed to by a majority of the hearing panel members. The panel may decide that the attorney should refund fees already collected; that the attorney should collect only part of the fees; or that the fees are reasonable.