Resolving an attorney fee dispute through arbitration: a follow up

As I reported in May, I hadn’t heard from the personal injury lawyers who presumably had settled my broken foot case — although I had signed the settlement agreement in very early November, 2011.

Thus, I haven’t gotten my settlement money.

So on May 10, 2012, I sent my Client Request for Fee Arbitration form, along with a check, to the New York County Lawyers Association, the bar association which administers fee dispute arbitration in my district. (The association’s building in lower Manhattan is a Cass Gilbert-designed landmark with a neat history. Take a look at this and do scroll down to the incident of the madcap rhesus monkey chase.)

My check for the small filing fee was cashed but I haven’t yet heard from them. The ethics lawyer I spoke to warned me that arbitration takes time. Today, though, when I read through the New York State Attorney-Client Fee Dispute Resolution Program booklet — which I’d printed out from the court website, I learned that, under the sub-heading, I filed a request for fee arbitration. What happens now?

Upon receiving your Request for Arbitration, the local program administrator will forward it to the attorney, who then has 15 days to complete an Attorney Response form (UCS 137-5a) and return it to the local program, with a copy to you.

As far as I know, this hasn’t happened: I haven’t received any attorney response form and we’re well beyond 15 days. And at the least shouldn’t my filing be acknowledged? So I called the central number for the NYS fee dispute program: 1-877-333-7137, and was given the direct number for the New York County Lawyers Association arbitration program: 212-267-6646, ext 236.

I called, got a recording, and left a message. What happens next? I’ll keep you informed of my progress toward getting a settlement check.

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