Dispute Resolution

Alternative Services

Based on our long experience and reputation for providing objective and well-supported opinions, LFA is often asked to serve as a neutral reviewer in legal fee disputes. Because we have analyzed fee issues from all angles and understand each party’s interests, we are ideally suited to identify objective and practical solutions.

LFA’s director, Joe Studer, serves as an arbitrator or mediator in disputes where parties agree to out-of-court adjudication. He also serves as a court-appointed special master or independent fee examiner in litigation where an independent, unbiased evaluation of legal fees is required.

Mediation. Joe acts as a facilitator, assisting all parties in negotiating a fair and lasting settlement. Rather than unilaterally issuing a decision, we use our knowledge and experience to guide discussions and encourage parties to modify their demands until an agreement can be reached.

Arbitration. Our attorneys act as sole arbitrator or serve on a panel of arbitrators, depending on the amount of money in dispute. An informal hearing is held where parties have the opportunity to testify and present evidence, after which the arbitrator(s) makes a binding decision about fee awards.

Special Master. LFA can serve as a court-retained party to conduct an independent review of legal fees and make recommendations about reasonableness. LFA may be asked to conduct a comprehensive fee audit or to narrowly assess a specific contested allocation or expenditure.

Representative Experience

  • Served as Special Master to determine the reasonableness of efforts undertaken by law firms who successfully prosecuted a class action lawsuit, in a dispute between the firms about the proper allocation of the contingent fee recovery, including preparing a detailed report addressing the reasonableness of counsels’ efforts, addressing objections from counsel, and preparing recommendations for the court.
  • Served as consulting neutral to resolve dispute between a large privately-held company providing business intelligence and their outside counsel concerning the reasonableness of amounts outside counsel charged in connection with patent litigation, including evaluating the reasonableness of the amounts outside counsel invoiced and preparing a binding opinion to resolve the dispute.
  • Served as mediator to resolve dispute between an insurance company and its insured concerning the reasonableness of the amounts the insured’s self-selected counsel charged while defending the insured, including preparing a detailed opinion addressing the reasonableness of the amounts counsel charged and opining on various coverage issues related to the insured’s selection of counsel.
  • Served as mediator to resolve dispute between corporate client and outside counsel concerning the reasonableness of outside counsel’s fees and the scope of outside counsel’s activities, working with the parties to develop a mutually agreeable resolution of past due amounts and work efforts going forward.