What are Arbitration Attorneys?

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  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 22 December 2018
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Arbitration attorneys hear civil cases, listen to both sides, and then write a decision that may include a monetary award. They may be either a retired attorney or one who is currently practicing law. In arbitration, the attorney becomes the judge and jury, eliminating the need for a trial or an appeal to a higher court. Generally, the decisions made by arbitration attorneys are binding. After arbitration, the right to pursue a criminal lawsuit on the same matter usually is forfeited.

People turn to arbitration attorneys when they have a legal dispute but do not want to incur the time and cost of pursuing a lawsuit. Arbitration is typically used for civil litigation cases. Starting in the late 1980s, arbitration became a primary means of resolving securities industry disputes in the United States. Another possible advantage is that the arbitration is usually privately held, unless a party fails to comply with a binding decision.

In any jurisdiction or country, there typically are laws governing arbitration. A common consideration is the dollar amount or controversy attached to a civil case. Arbitration may not be advisable when the dollar amount exceeds a certain limit. Further, arbitration is generally not used for appeals from court systems. In a domestic case, contested issues involving property may be arbitrated. Generally, child support or spousal support is not used for arbitration.


Depending on the nature of the case, the parties involved may be able to request that an arbitration decision be strictly advisory. This means the decision of the arbitration attorney is not binding and additional legal action may be taken by either party. However, it is still not considered mediation, which is distinctly different. An arbitration attorney differs from a mediator in several ways. One of the biggest differences is that a mediator is not required to be an attorney. Additionally, they do not provide legal advice or decide cases.

Arbitration attorneys may be brought into a dispute when all parties agree on hiring the same arbitrator. One exception may be when a particular group has agreed to find and hire the arbitration attorney. In this case, the group may handle the selection process. Sometimes a list of arbitrators may be made available to the parties involved in the dispute. If they cannot agree on an arbitrator, a court may assign one.

The actual arbitration proceeding is typically conducted in a way that is similar to a court trial. This progression includes opening statements, presentation of evidence, testimony of witnesses, and rebuttals. Cross-examination of witnesses tends to be more liberal than what is allowed in court settings. The amount to which witnesses are questioned largely depends on the style of the arbitration attorney.



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