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A dispute between Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge and a former partner who was fired for failing to meet billing targets is headed to a special referee to determine whether the terms of the partner’s letter agreement require the dispute to be handled in arbitration.

Stephen Connoni, who was fired in September 2008 a year after joining Edwards Angell, sued the firm in April for breach of contract. Edwards Angell sought to dismiss the suit and compel Connoni to arbitrate his claims under a provision in its partnership agreement. Connoni argued that arbitration was not required, since, as a contract partner, his withdrawal or termination were governed by a letter agreement signed when he joined the firm.

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