I recently volunteered to be on the HBA Fee Dispute Committee. Today was our first meeting for the year. Going into the meeting, I wasn’t even sure what exactly I was volunteering for, but the name sounded interesting. Once I arrived, it soon became clear that the HBA has a program that not many people know about that is a wonderful service to both lawyers and clients. Believe it or not, there are times when lawyers and clients can’t agree on who is owed money and how much. I know, it’s shocking to think that lawyers would ever disagree with a client. In the event this ever happens to you, be aware that the HBA offers a FREE service to resolve these disputes. Members of the HBA as well as non-lawyers volunteer their time to sit as an arbitration panel over fee disputes. In order for a dispute to be eligible, both the client and the attorney must voluntarily consent to use the HBA fee dispute process. In the last 10 years, the committee has successfully arbitrated on average 15 fee disputes per year. The panel who hears the dispute consists of two attorneys and one non-attorney. But like I said before, the best part is it is free. For more information on the process, please visit the Houston Bar Association website. With so many people willing to volunteer their time, you might take advantage of it if you ever find yourself in a fee dispute.