ILLINOIS State lacks program to resolve fee disputes with scumbag liars ,forget about the appearance (IARDC) doing their LIARS AS WELL ?

September 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

INSIDE THE LEGAL PROFESSION

State lacks program to resolve fee disputes

By Ameet SachdevSeptember 18, 2007

Illinois is one of eight states that does not provide a statewide program for individuals to resolve fee conflicts with their lawyers, according to a study released Monday by Halt, a legal consumer watchdog group.

The organization evaluated out-of-court forums designed to settle fee disputes, because they can be inexpensive alternatives to suing a lawyer in court.

“The most pervasive complaint about lawyers is that their fees are too high for the work done,” said Halt senior counsel Suzanne Blonder.

State bar associations typically sponsor such programs as part of the legal services they offer to the public.

But the Illinois State Bar Association stopped offering such legal assistance within the last year or two, said Joseph Bisceglia, president of the group.

“It just wasn’t being used,” Bisceglia said. “We were putting a lot of resources into the voluntary program, and the results weren’t commensurate with the time involved.”

The Illinois bar association also has no regulatory power over its members because it is a voluntary organization, making it difficult to enforce its rulings on fee disputes, Bisceglia said.

Illinois’ problems were not isolated. Halt found that many out-of-court resolution systems were plagued with problems, from biased procedures to the lack of consumer awareness.

Of the 51 jurisdictions surveyed, 38 received grades below “C,” the group said. At the top were Washington, D.C., Maine, New Jersey, New York and California. Programs were evaluated in six categories, including the ease of initiating an appeal and whether lawyers are required to participate in binding arbitration at a client’s request.

Some program is better than nothing, however, the group said. In addition to Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee also received “incomplete” grades from Halt.

Although the Illinois state bar canceled its program, the Chicago Bar Association continues to offer assistance in this area. After a client or lawyer completes a fee complaint form, a panel of lawyers reviews the complaint. If the dispute can’t be resolved, the bar association’s Committee on Professional Fees will hold a hearing. Its recommendations are not binding on lawyers, however.

“We’re there to serve as a venue for people to complain about their attorneys who otherwise can’t afford to take the matter to court,” said Mari Leigh, chair of the Chicago committee. “If we don’t hear the matter, who will?”

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asachdev@tribune.com

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