Leeds United have been served with a winding-up petition by law firm Ford & Warren Solicitors over unpaid fees.
The fees, which date back to when former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates, 82, owned the Championship club, amount to about £150,000.
The petition is set to be heard at Leeds Combined Court on 13 January.
Nick Collins, senior partner at Ford & Warren, told BBC Radio Leeds: "This is not a dispute with Mr Cellino. This is something he has inherited from the previous ownership of the club.
"We bear no ill-will towards Mr Cellino and we wish him well. I genuinely hope we can resolve this amicably but we must do what is necessary to protect our clients' position."
The Elland Road side are currently 17th in the Championship, with no wins in their last eight matches.