With inherent cost of going to trial, arbitration is one of the most popular ways to resolve conflicts and disputes. Even so, arbitrators across the board are often surprised that young attorneys are often unprepared and disorganized for arbitration. As one well-respected arbiter once said, “The hearing should not be endless repetition of favorable facts; rather it should be an effective presentation of the facts that are necessary for success.”
Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution with an independent third party making the final determination. It is an alternative to court action, and just as final and binding.
As a legal services support team who regularly assists in arbitrations, depositions, and court cases, we at DLE Court Reporters have compiled a list of tips we have seen that ensure a smooth proceeding:
- It’s best to be the claimant. Presenting your side of the case first in a clear, understandable presentation before your opponent presents its opposing case has a definite advantage.
- Make it easy for the arbitrator to follow the case. Consider providing a document notebook for the arbitrator’s use during the hearing, making sure to include exhibits and other integral information to help the arbitrator clearly understand the topics.
- Choose an arbiter who has expertise in the specific subject matter, as it saves time and unnecessary instruction. For instance, parties can choose a medical arbitrator if the dispute is of a medical nature so that the evidence presented isn’t foreign.
- Keep it professional, avoid game-playing, and personal attacks. Basically, be nice; this industry is a small town. Emotions can run high even in arbitration, but it’s essential to keep the dispute between the clients, not the attorneys representing them. An arbitrator is seeking objective facts and legal authority to help decide the case; anything else is an unnecessary and unhelpful distraction.
- Make sure you keep a record of the proceedings. An arbitration is binding unless otherwise agreed beforehand, so a properly documented record of the process is crucial. If the agreement of the arbitration is non-binding, your client will still have the right to a trial, making the transcription of the pre-trial arbitration extremely valuable when rethinking strategy.
At DLE Court Reporters, we’ve recorded our share of arbitrations and are happy to share our expertise. We understand the need for effective preparation and a concerted focus on efficiency. When the time comes, we’ll be there for you.