Fee Disputes - Attorney

Has a Client Not Paid Your Bill?

If your client has not responded to your attempts to collect a past due bill and you would like to take further action, then you must serve your client with the following State Bar of California form:

Notice of Client's Right To Arbitrate

  • This exact form must be used to notify your client of their right to arbitrate. Do not make changes to it or put it on your letterhead. This will invalidate your Notice.
  • The form must list an exact amount you are trying to collect.
  • You must serve the client with this form if you are filing or contemplating filing a court case to collect your fees.
  • You must make sure the client knows they have a 30-day deadline to file for arbitration. The 30-day period begins when the client knows that they have a right to arbitrate the matter.

Has Your Client Filed for Arbitration?

If your client has filed for arbitration with BASF, we will notify you. Your participation is mandatory and you should submit your reply by the deadline listed on the paperwork. Please download the reply form:

Attorney's Reply Form

View the Rules of Procedure for more information about the process. For a detailed description of the legal code that governs attorney/client fee disputes, see the Business and Professions Code.

Do You Want to Start the Process of Fee Dispute Arbitration?

Please review the Rules of Procedure. When you decide that you want to engage our services, please download and fill out the request form.

Attorney's Request form

There is an administrative fee. The Attorney Request form will help you determine this fee.

Pay this fee when you submit your completed forms. It becomes part of the fee dispute and the arbitrator(s) will allocate responsibility for the fee as part of the award. See Rule 13.A. Rules of Procedure for details about filing fees.

To submit your request, follow the instructions on the form. After we receive your request, we notify the other party of your request and await their response.

Optional Mediation Process

Both you and your client have the option of going through mediation first. During mediation, both parties work together to come to a resolution that works for everyone.

Mediation is also:

  • voluntary, and both sides must agree to it
  • less formal, and often takes less time than arbitration
  • four hours of mediation are covered by your administrative fee

If both parties agree to mediation, we will assign a mediator and notify you. The assigned mediator will contact both parties to set a mediation date. If you do not resolve your fee dispute in mediation, your dispute goes to arbitration.


We notify you when we have selected the arbitrator(s) for your dispute. Before we assign an arbitrator, we first make sure there is no conflict of interest.

We also send you a "Request for Hearing Dates" form to help us set up a date that is convenient for you. Once a date is set, you must show up at the location detailed in the "Notice of Hearing" you will receive in the mail.

Once the arbitrator(s) hears both sides of the story they take the matter "under submission." There is no award issued on this day. You will receive the award in the mail once a final decision has been made. At that time, you also receive a Notice of Your Rights After Arbitration.

Questions? Email adr@sfbar.org.