Using Mediation and Arbitration
to Resolve Disputes Between Lawyers
Dispute Resolution Program Rules
All lawyers, both PBA and non-PBA members, may use this program. A lawyer engaged in a
law firm dispute, dissolution or withdrawal or in a fee dispute with another lawyer should
call the Pennsylvania Bar Association at 1-800-932-0311.
The parties involved then choose one of two procedures to resolve their dispute:
mediation alone or mediation followed by binding arbitration.
Parties desiring arbitration must first attend at least one mediation session to become
familiar with the process and to determine the issues for arbitration. Where mediation
only is requested, the parties may agree at the conclusion of mediation to submit any
unresolved issues to arbitration with no additional administrative fee.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a problem-solving approach used to work out a voluntary agreement that
will benefit all parties. The parties involved resolve their own dispute with the help of
a trained, neutral mediator in a confidential and informal procedure.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration involves many aspects of litigation such as an adversary hearing, sworn
witnesses and the presentation of evidence, while avoiding the delays, publicity and costs
that frequently accompany litigation. In this process, a neutral arbitrator resolves the
dispute for the parties by issuing a final and binding decision.
The Mediators and Arbitrators
The mediators and arbitrators in the program represent every region of the Commonwealth
and include former judges, lawyer-accountants, law professors, and lawyers who have
managed large and small firms and businesses. They are experienced in mediation,
arbitration or law practice management and have been trained in accounting, tax, ethics
and other issues involved in law firm and fee disputes.
The mediators and arbitrators are chosen from a different geographical area than the
disputants unless the disputants stipulate otherwise.
There is a small administrative fee of $150 for PBA members and $250 for non-PBA members
plus a modest daily fee for the mediator or arbitrator, which is usually shared by the
parties. A fee schedule is available from the PBA.
To lawyers involved in disputes, this program offers confidentiality, expedient
resolution of their disputes, a low cost, malpractice avoidance, and a potential
malpractice insurance discount.
For More Information
To obtain rules for operation of the program, a list of mediators
and arbitrators, a fee schedule, or for more information, call PBA toll free at 1-800-932-0311,
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Lawyer Dispute Resolution Program
100 South St., P.O. Box 186
Harrisburg, PA 17108-0186