February 05, 2018 Top Story

Attorney-Client Arbitration Agreement Controlled by Federal Law

FAA controls in showdown with Rules of Professional Conduct

Benjamin E. Long

Attempts by states to regulate the enforceability of mandatory arbitration clauses in attorney-client agreements via the Rules of Professional Conduct will likely have to yield to federal law.

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The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) supersedes state law to allow attorney client agreements to include arbitration clauses. To be enforceable, clients must understand that they are giving up their right to a trial by judge or jury. There are arguments for and against practitioners using an arbitration clause in attorney-client agreements, but if desired they should be written with care, Section leaders caution.

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