Firms Eschew Mandatory Arbitration Clauses With Clients
White and Williams attorney John Encarnacion sits on that committee. He said most engagement letters do not include a mandatory arbitration clause. Some states, such as New Jersey and New York, require firms to offer clients a fee dispute arbitration when a conflict arises and the clients have 30 days to accept that offer or the matter goes to litigation, Encarnacion said. In Pennsylvania, there is no such mandatory provision and, from Encarnacion's perspective, committees like his are underutilized.
Encarnacion said White and Williams' engagement letters don't include a mandatory arbitration provision. From a law firm's perspective, Encarnacion said, arbitration can make it easier on the client by making it less expensive to resolve disputes.
The hearing in Sanford on the arbitration issue was continued after confusion arose as to whether Craig Sanford signed the engagement letter with Bracewell. The law firm supplemented the record Wednesday with a copy that appears to be signed by Sanford. Haines will be given the opportunity to question a Bracewell witness on this fact at a yet-to-be-scheduled hearing.