Disputed Fee Process
The Constitution of the Stark County Bar Association provides that the Disputed Fee Committee shall investigate complaints coming to it directly or indirectly that are alleging excessive fees by an attorney and attempt to resolve such disputes.
Upon receipt of a dispute/complaint, your letter will be reviewed by the Chairman of the Disputed Fee Committee and a status letter will be sent to you within 1 – 2 weeks.
The Chairman will then assign your complaint to a member of our committee for review.
If necessary, the committee member may obtain additional information from the complainant and the attorney to satisfy himself/herself that all the relevant facts have been received. Upon completion of the investigation, the committee member investigating the complaint will report to the Chairman and to the Disputed Fee Committee at a meeting of said Committee. If the Committee determines that the complaint should be dismissed without further action, the complainant and the attorney shall be notified by a written letter.
If following a review of the preliminary investigation the Committee concludes that a complaint/dispute warrants further consideration, it shall notify the complainant and the attorney involved, but will delay any further action until the expiration of 30 days, during which the parties are urged to exert their best efforts to reach an amicable resolution of their dispute. If the parties do not themselves settle the dispute within 30 days, the Chairman shall request the complainant to execute a binding arbitration consent, and advise the complainant of his rights to representation by a Committee member. If the complainant fails or refuses to execute such consent, the matter shall be closed.
Upon receipt of the complainant’s consent to binding arbitration, the Chairman shall request the attorney involved for his consent to binding arbitration. At the time this request is submitted to the attorney, the Chairman shall advise him that in the event the attorney fails or refuses to consent to binding arbitration, an arbitration panel to which this matter will be assigned will proceed to conduct an ex parte hearing. If it finds that the complainant’s allegations are justified, the Chairman will direct a member of the assigned panel to represent the complainant to either institute suit for refund of any portion of the fee paid determined to be excessive, or to resist any proceeding by the attorney seeking to collect any portion of the fee not yet paid determined to be excessive.
Filing a Complaint
If you feel you have a fee dispute concerning a fee paid, charged or claimed for legal services rendered by an attorney practicing law in Stark County, you may file a complaint with the Stark County Bar Association. Your complaint must be made in writing to the attention of the Disputed Fee Committee. Include your name, address and daytime phone number along with the name, address and phone number of the attorney. Also, include in your letter, a brief description of the nature of the dispute. If you have paperwork in support of your claim, please send copies of that paperwork with your written complaint. Original documents should never be sent, as the Stark County Bar Association cannot guarantee that the paperwork can be returned to you. Once the Stark County Bar Association reviews your complaint you should receive a status letter within 1 – 2 weeks.
Complaints should be mailed to:
Stark County Bar Association
Attn: Disputed Fee Committee
116 Cleveland Ave., N.W.
400 Courtyard Centre Building
Canton, Ohio 44702
If at any time you have questions regarding the process, please contact the Bar Office at 330-453-0685 or SCB@StarkCtyBar.com.