2015 - 16 Fee Dispute Resolution Committee


The Fee Dispute Resolution Committee mediates and arbitrates fee disputes pursuant to RPC 1.5(f). Committee members/panelists must have mediation experience or be DRC certified mediators.





2015-16 Chair

Keith B. Nichols





Class of 2016

Class of 2017

Class of 2018

Public Members

Mary V. Carrigan

Sarah L. DiFranco

Deborah Dilman

Judy M. Smith

Colette T. Davis

Amy R. Howard

Chistopher A. Hicks


David R. DiMatteo

Elizabeth J. James

G. Martin Hunter


William L. Esser IV

Matthew T. McKee

Michael E. Navarro


Ketan P. Soni

Louis A. Waple

Heidi S. Risser


F. Lane Williamson


Christopher Strianese




Staff Liaison

Shannon Reid, Director for Compliance & Ethics - sreid@meckbar.org 



Communications Committee Liasion
Chris Culp



Volunteer Need / Commitment

Members of the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee attend quarterly committee meetings and are assigned two to three cases each month to mediate. Members will also have the opportunity to participate in arbitration panels consisting of three panelists: a chair, one attorney and one lay person.  Interested in joining this committee?Complete the committee interest form.



2014-15 Fee Dispute Resolution Committee

Keith Nichols, Chair



The Fee Dispute Resolution Committee mediates (and in some cases arbitrates) fee disputes between lawyers who are members of the Mecklenburg County Bar and their clients.  Under the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(f), North Carolina licensed attorneys must participate in good faith in the Fee Dispute Resolution process if a client has made a timely and proper claim.
A Committee member determines whether this Committee has jurisdiction for Fee Dispute Resolution, then mediates the dispute if it is.  Cases that resolve in mediation are closed with a written memorandum.  Cases that reach an impasse may (with mutual consent) be referred to a 3-person arbitration panel consisting of two lawyers and one lay person, none of whom was the mediator.  Without such mutual consent, cases that reach an impasse are closed to allow the parties to pursue other remedies.

Fee Disputes may be filed locally or with the North Carolina State Bar, but most are handled locally.  Lawyer members of the Committee are trained and certified mediators or have extensive mediation experience.  All proceedings are confidential.
A recent State Bar ethics opinion (2012 FEO 2) and resulting changes proffered by the Dispute Resolution Commission have resulted in the Committee having to revisit its role in resolving fee disputes.  The role of this committee remains to assist attorneys and their clients in resolving disputes regarding fees. Members of the committee who serve as mediators can formulate a written summary of the terms of the agreement reached between the parties in the same or similar form.  Rather than “Settlement Agreement”, the document will now be called a “Mediation Summary”.  Nothing prevents the parties from signing this document as long as it is expressly indicated that no representations are being made regarding the finality or enforceability of the terms.

From July 1, 2014, through June 17, 2015, approximately 65 new files were opened and 43 were closed.  Of these closed files, more than 20 were settled.  The number of new files this fiscal year is comparable to last fiscal year, which perhaps indicates a stabilization to the increase the Committee has been seeing in prior years.