Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution authorized by state and federal law and conducted by private arbitration companies like JAMS and the American Arbitration Association. Unlike mediation, arbitration is binding on the parties, and the prevailing party may confirm an arbitration award in court and collect on it like any other legal judgment. Although the law provides basic procedures for initiating an arbitration and confirming an award, most of the arbitration process is governed by the arbitration companies themselves. Each company has its own sets of rules, and these rules vary from case to case depending on the type and size of the dispute.
Although generally viewed as a less expensive and more expeditious means of resolving disputes, arbitration presents its own set of challenges. Arbitrators are guided in their decisions by common law principles, but they are less bound by them than judges are. Arbitration deadlines and rules of procedure are oftentimes less rigidly enforced than rules of court. And arbitration outcomes are nearly impossible to appeal, so the arbitrator generally gets the final say.
Parties may arbitrate only if they both have agreed to do so. This agreement is generally found in a contract containing an arbitration clause, although parties may also agree to arbitrate after a dispute has arisen. If you have received an arbitration demand, or if you have a claim against a party that may be subject to an arbitration clause, contact us. The first step in the analysis is to determine whether arbitration is the right forum for you, and, if not, whether there is a way around the arbitration clause (these are not always airtight). If arbitration is the best or the only means forward, we will represent you in this forum. We are experienced in arbitrating under the Federal Arbitration Act, the D.C. Arbitration Code, the American Arbitration Association's Construction Industry Arbitration Rules, and the UK Arbitration Act of 1996. Put our experience to work for you.