Lawyer Dispute Resolution

Using Mediation and Arbitration 
to Resolve Disputes Between Lawyers

Lawyer Dispute Resolution Program Documents and Forms

The Program

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 x2253.

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.

Program Cost

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 x2253, or write:

Pennsylvania Bar Association 
Lawyer Dispute Resolution Program 
100 South St., P.O. Box 186 
Harrisburg, PA 17108-0186



100 South Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: 800-932-0311

Western Pennsylvania Office:

Heinz 57 Center, 339 Sixth Avenue, Suite 760
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 Phone: 412-914-8840