Getting the Most Out of Arbitration—Tips and Tactics

When it comes to resolving disputes, arbitration has often been touted as more cost-effective than litigation, and it’s generally true—at least as long as it’s handled properly. To get the most out of arbitration, consider the following tips and tactics.

Have a Clear Arbitration Cause

First of all, a clear arbitration clause is a vital aspect of keeping arbitration as cost-effective as possible. By establishing the details of how arbitration will be carried out in advance, you can prevent a lot of the back-and-forth that may occur if those details were left up in the air.

In addition, a clear and thorough arbitration clause can allow you to set limits on specific processes, such as limiting discovery. Doing so cuts down on the time it takes to prepare for hearings, preventing it from blowing up into a carbon copy of courtroom litigation.

Bring Your Best Evidence

The results of an arbitration hearing will only be as good as the evidence you bring to the table. If you have solid evidence in favor of your position, bring it to the hearing, even if it wouldn’t necessarily be admissible in court. Remember that arbitration typically has looser rules than litigation, meaning some evidence can be brought to the table that you normally wouldn’t be able to use.

Ultimately, it’s up to the arbitrators to weigh the evidence, and a lost cause could be turned around by the right piece of information.

Allow for Impartiality

When choosing arbitrators, it may be tempting to select someone who will side with your position. However, it’s important for arbitrators to be impartial when hearing your dispute. Impartiality helps both parties accept the end result of the hearing, and it decreases the odds that a favorable ruling will be overturned with an appeal.

Remember that your arbitrator is not your friend. Their job is to be as impartial as possible, and that includes appearing impartial during a hearing. Any sign of bias could lead to an appeal.

Think “Win-Win”

While arbitration often has a win-lose result, it generally works best if you’re willing to work with the party with whom you’re disputing. Adopting a litigious “win at all costs” attitude can easily result in a drawn-out legal battle that costs both parties dearly, even if you manage to win. If this occurs, it defeats the purpose of arbitration in the first place, which was to resolve a dispute without expensive court hearings, laborious discovery, and endless appeals.

Have an Experienced Lawyer

Finally, your attorney should be experienced, both in terms of arbitration as well as with respect to your position. For instance, a corporate attorney who is familiar with contracts and matters of fiscal responsibility can probably provide better support with a corporate dispute than one who has no such experience.

An attorney with arbitration experience will also help you navigate the process in a way that is both cost-effective and likely to yield positive results. If you are in need of legal representation to help you resolve a dispute, contact an arbitration lawyer as soon as possible.

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