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Fee Dispute Resolution program offers alternative means to resolve lawyer-client disagreements

The Missouri Bar’s Fee Dispute Resolution program exists to address fee disputes between Missouri lawyers and their clients. A fee dispute complaint is often the result of a misunderstanding between the lawyer and client or a disagreement about the quality of the services provided. The program provides a confidential process to resolve fee disputes through facilitation, mediation, or binding arbitration.  

Serving the entire state of Missouri, the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee oversees the program, with trained lawyers and non-lawyer professionals volunteer as facilitators, mediators, and arbitrators.  

The FDR program is offered at no charge and may only be initiated by the client. The FDR program is available to assist parties in resolving disputes regarding attorney’s fees. Claims for damages are outside the scope of the FDR program.  

To begin the process, the client must complete the FDR petition form and submit it by email, mail, or fax. The FDR Committee will review the completed petition form to determine if the program has jurisdiction to open a case. The FDR program then offers facilitation, mediation, and binding arbitration to the parties. Currently, all meetings are conveniently scheduled by video conference. 

Advantages of the FDR Program 

  • Informal proceedings – less formal than court trials or hearings 
  • Faster resolution – provide a more expedited service than a court case 
  • Confidential proceedings – unlike court cases that may result in public disclosure 
  • Cost - No charge to either the lawyer or client for using the FDR Program unless another lawyer or a court reporter is hired 

Highlights from 2022 FDR Year-End Report: 

  • 46% of opened FDR cases were resolved satisfactorily 
  • Parties reached a resolution in mediation or facilitation, or 
  • Parties proceeded in a binding arbitration hearing 
  • 2022 total meetings 
  • Facilitations: 22 
  • Mediations: 34 
  • Binding Arbitrations: 10 
  • 2022 types of cases 
  • 33% Criminal 
  • 32% Domestic 
  • 11% Litigation 

 For more information about the Fee Dispute Resolution program, click here.