I am an advocate of arbitration, and this is why: Giving the parties a faster, cheaper, and certain decision has great value in the right situation.
Critics of arbitration argue that arbitrators “split the baby,” meaning that arbitrators never rule all the way for one side or the other regardless of the proffered evidence. The theory being that if each side receives something, they will not be so unhappy with the outcome.
Arbitrators Have A Job To Do
First, as an arbitrator, I take my role seriously. The parties and their attorneys are paying lots of money to reach a resolution, and I owe them a thorough and honest assessment of the claim.
I have ruled 100% in favor of one party in an arbitration and I stand by my decision still today. However, I have ruled in part for one party and in part for the other and I still stand by that decision today.
I felt the facts and law not only justified the split decision, but demanded a split decision.
You hire me as an arbitrator for my ability to hear evidence, assess credibility, apply the law and deliver to you my best decision. Sometimes, the best decision is less than 100% to one side.
Judges Frequently “Split The Baby” During Trial
Here is my question to the critics of arbitration: How many times has a judge given you a split decision? The answer, if you really think about it, is all the time.
My last trial had an issue of proper witness disclosure. My opponent wanted to call several witnesses who had not been disclosed in discovery. I objected and the Judge agreed with me and barred the witnesses … mostly.
He split the baby and allowed one or two of the witnesses. If this had been arbitration, counsel would complain, but if it’s in court, that has a different feel.
Reassess Your Bias Against Arbitration
My closing thought for you: Mix together a serious arbitrator with counsel who are ready to move a case and reach a final resolution and your result will be a faster and less expensive outcome for the client.
As a former client, I can tell you that is what your clients truly want.