Arbitration Lawyers and the Purposes They Serve
Arbitration is a popular dispute resolution method that provides businesses an alternative to litigation. When someone signs a contract with an arbitration clause, the parties agree to arbitration. Alternatively, parties can voluntarily choose an arbitration hearing to resolve their dispute.
While most arbitrations do not require parties to use a lawyer, you should strongly consider it. An arbitration attorney can perform many different services to assist their clients.
What Do Arbitration Lawyers Do?
Arbitration attorneys help their clients resolve business disputes through arbitration. They can determine whether arbitration is the best method to resolve your dispute and assist with preparing your case. In addition to guiding you through the arbitration process, an arbitration lawyer can help you in various ways.
Provide Financial Services
As part of a case assessment, arbitration lawyers will estimate the costs and determine whether arbitration is appropriate from a financial perspective. While the arbitration process costs less than a trial, arbitration costs are not insignificant and typically your appeal rights are very limited.
In general, the costs of arbitration include filing fees, administrative fees, and arbitrators' fees. Most of these costs are based on the amount in dispute, making arbitration very expensive in some cases. Legal costs also need to be paid if hiring an arbitration lawyer.
There are instances where the client has a worthwhile arbitration case but is not willing or able to fund it. In these situations, arbitration law firms can help their clients secure funding from a third party.
Guide Clients Through The Arbitration Process
Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution where each party presents its case to an appointed arbitrator (or panel of three arbitrators). The arbitrator is a neutral third party who is either a lawyer or professional with subject matter expertise. In most cases, both parties have control over selecting the arbitrator(s), usually based on a process specified in the arbitration clause.
The parties also have control over the scheduling of an arbitration hearing. Unlike a trial, which can take years to begin, arbitration can be scheduled as soon as the parties are ready, sometimes within months.
While trials are public proceedings, arbitrations are private matters. For businesses that value confidentiality, arbitration provides a significant advantage over litigation.
Arbitration rules are less strict than those governing litigation. For example, the rules of evidence are typically not as vigorously enforced. Essentially, each side presents evidence to the arbitrator, the arbitrator will consider the evidence and reach a decision, known as an arbitration award.
An arbitration attorney has extensive experience with trying arbitrations and helps their clients navigate the process. Arbitration procedures are time-consuming and complex to complete, especially without assistance from counsel. Arbitration lawyers can assist their clients with every phase of arbitration, including:
- Filing a request for arbitration or answer to a request
- Assisting with gathering evidence
- Preparing written submissions with supporting evidence
- Analyzing the opposing party's submissions and evidence
- Analyzing arbitration awards
Perform Cross-Examination And Cross-Presentation
Similar to a trial, parties in arbitration can use witness or expert testimony to strengthen their cases. Most arbitrations include a discovery phase, where informal and limited discovery may be allowed. Counsel also may depose witnesses as part of the discovery process.
At these oral hearings, an arbitration lawyer can put on evidence and cross-examination the other party's witnesses or experts. These tactics, performed by experienced arbitration attorneys, can collect valuable evidence for your case.
Acquire Competent Expert Reports And Witness Statements
The use of experts and witnesses to support a case is typical in an arbitration meeting, especially for arbitrations. With their network management expertise, an arbitration attorney can provide significant value for this step in the arbitration process. Specifically, they can:
- Assist clients with finding relevant witnesses and credible experts
- Answer questions from experts about the facts of the case to help them prepare their reports
- Help witnesses with the preparation of their statements (without preparing them on behalf of witnesses)
In addition to securing experts and witnesses, arbitration lawyers can prepare them for cross-examinations.
Practice Enforcement Of Arbitration Clauses And Arbitral Awards
While parties are contractually obligated to pursue arbitration by arbitration clauses, sometimes a party will refuse to comply. There are also instances where the losing party fails to comply with paying an arbitral award. These situations necessitate hiring an arbitration lawyer to help enforce your arbitration rights.
When a client needs an arbitration clause or arbitral award enforced, arbitration attorneys will seek to file a court pleading. An arbitration attorney may also help you contest an arbitration award if necessary.
Conduct Mandatory Binding Arbitration Proceedings
There are two different types of arbitrations: binding and nonbinding. Binding arbitration requires the parties to accept the arbitrator's decision as final, while nonbinding arbitration allows either party to reject an award, but that process might facilitate resolution. Most contracts include a clause for mandatory binding arbitration, and arbitration is usually binding unless the parties agree to nonbinding arbitration beforehand.
You should strongly consider hiring an arbitration lawyer if your business is involved with mandatory binding arbitration. Binding arbitrations are very difficult to appeal, meaning that the decision is likely final. Arbitration lawyers have the procedural expertise and legal knowledge to assist you through mandatory binding arbitration proceedings, giving your company the best chance of a favorable outcome.
Find Competent Arbitration Lawyers
If you have a business dispute that needs to be arbitrated, having an arbitration attorney can make the process much easier. However, finding capable representation is not easy.
For competent and experienced arbitration lawyers, look no further than King & Jones. They have considerable experience in arbitration across a wide range of disputes. King & Jones has the legal services you need to assist you throughout the arbitration process.