Do I need an attorney for an arbitration hearing?

UPDATED: Aug 11, 2011

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Do I need an attorney for an arbitration hearing?

I signed a contract with a company to help market and build my chiropractic office. I used their services for 5 months and stopped because the practice building techniques didn’t not work and were against my ethics. I stopped paying them and I got a letter from their attorney demanding $14,000. Can I find out if the company has lost arbitration before? Is that public information? Can they ask for more in the arbitration then the letter from their attorney?

Asked on August 11, 2011 California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Do you "need" an attorney--no, not in the sense that you can represent yourself. However, *should* you have an attorney in your corner, when there is at least $14,000 at stake and the other side will have an attorney representing its interests? Definitely--there is too much at stake to try to do this yourself.

They can definitely seek more  than was in the letter. The letter was an offer to settle; if you reject that offer, they can seek any amount up to the maximum allowed or possible  (e.g. the remaining amount you would owe under the contract, if in fact  you breached it.

If arbitration awards were entered or enforced by a court, they'd be public; settlements worked out privately would not be. Even if public, they may not be easy to find and also may not be that germane--the issue are the facts in this case. (Note: stopping using their services, when you had a contract, because their methods offended  your ethics is not a defense; if their techniques were  actually illegal, however, that is a different story.)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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