Resolution of Fee Disputes

Alex Simon, Chair

The Virginia State Bar resolution of fee dispute program (RFD) was created as a voluntary program to help attorneys and clients resolve disputes over fees and costs paid, charged, or claimed for legal services provided by a member of the Virginia State Bar (VSB) through mediation or arbitration.

The RFD program benefits VSB members and the public by reducing needless litigation, spurious bar complaints, and Clients’ Protection Fund petitions.

The RFD program volunteers include 12 circuit chairs, 168 arbitrators, and 48 mediators. 

This year there were four training sessions for current and new volunteers. We would like to express our gratitude to Donita King. She worked with staff to prepare the training materials and volunteered to teach the training sessions. They were held in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, and Fredericksburg. There were 74 participants at the trainings.

A webinar has been scheduled for October 21, 2020, offering one hour of LIVE CLE/Ethics (pending) on the topic of fee agreements and collecting fees. This CLE will be available to all Virginia attorneys.

*The VSB RFD received 199 requests for information during fiscal year 2019-2020. Of those requests:

  • Petitioners returned 61 agreements to circuit chairs for processing (45 from clients, 16 from attorneys);
  • 33 of those agreements were accepted by the respondent;
  • 13 attorney respondents declined to participate;
  • 8 cases were settled prior to mediation or arbitration; and
  • 32 cases went to RFD: 13 cases are complete 12 mediations and 1 arbitration), 9 mediations and 10 arbitrations are pending.

Geographical breakdown of requests:

  • 22% were for attorneys practicing in eastern Virginia
  • 35% were for attorneys practicing in NOVA
  • 37% were for attorneys practicing in central Virginia; and
  • 6% were for attorneys practicing in southside/southwest Virginia

The VSB Intake office referred 100 cases to the RFD program

*No reports were received from the 9th/15th, 10th, 28th, and 31st CCRFD chairs. A report was not received for the second half of the year from the 19th CCRFD chair.

The leadership of the Special Committee on the Resolution of Fee Disputes for the upcoming year is Alex Simon, chair; Steve Owens, vice chair; Alan Anderson; David McKelvey; Robert Stenzhorn; Johneal White; Edward Whitlock; Tom Gallagher; and John Mable.

The program could not operate without the countless hours of work by our volunteers who are well supported by the dedication of our professional bar staff.

Updated: Sep 01, 2020