The Mandatory Fee Arbitration ("MFA") Committee arbitrates and mediates disputes between clients and their attorneys concerning fees, costs, or both charged for the attorney's professional services. The arbitration proceedings are conducted under the Rules of Procedure for Mandatory Fee Arbitration ("Rules"). The Rules are intended to implement the mandatory fee arbitration provisions set forth in Business and Professions Code sections 6200-6206 and the State Bar's Guidelines and Minimum Standards for the Operation of Mandatory Fee Arbitration Programs. The MFA Committee provides a public service by offering a low cost and informal alternative forum to the civil courts in resolving these types of disputes. In addition to arbitration of fee disputes, the committee also has a mediation component for those wishing to mediate their dispute before proceeding to arbitration.
The committee strives to educate attorneys that have their fee dispute heard through the MFA Committee with ways to avoid similar disputes. The MFA Committee provides free continuing legal education in the training of new arbitrators and advanced arbitrator trainings for those who are members of the MFA committee. Once a members application is approved and attendance at an MFA training is confirmed, the member is appointed to the committee and assigned to one or two three-panel arbitrations. After the arbitrator is proficient with the procedures, single arbitrations are then assigned. Although the committee does not have regular meetings, there is an annual recognition lunch in appreciation of the contributions made to the committee by its members.
The MFA Committee is composed of attorney arbitrators and non-attorney arbitrators and is the largest OCBA committee. Attorney arbitrators are OCBA members in good standing with the OCBA and the State Bar of California who have been in practice for four years or more, have attended MFA training, and possess the qualifications and characteristics necessary to function effectively as fair and impartial arbitrators. The volunteers of this committee do not receive compensation for their time and efforts. It is expected that every committee member arbitrate at least one fee dispute case a year which on the average consists of an 8 hour time commitment.
Apply for the Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program