It isn’t uncommon for contracts to have the requirement of signatories to agree to binding arbitration. In the event that a dispute happens to its head, the signatories have the dispute handled by a private arbitrator instead of going to court. It is the duty of the private arbitrator to then make the final ruling which is not able to be contended, refused, or appealed against by the parties involved. The entire purpose of binding arbitration is actually to take away the option of negotiation and finding compromise from the parties involved. However, if you have no biding arbitration, you may be free to seek arbitration and involve attorneys. Unfortunately, sometimes an attorney can just be plain difficult, making it difficult for arbitrators to do their job.
Difficult Attorneys in Arbitration
Arbitration itself is becoming more popular across the world, and the practices and behavior of attorneys of a difficult nature have serious repercussions for all parties involved in the arbitration process. An attorney in arbitration can behave in a difficult manner by not meeting sufficient discovery, frivolously objecting against necessary discovery, and even making excessive discovery requests from the other party. There may be a number of reasons for such difficulty arising from an attorney; they may be inexperienced with the process of arbitration or perhaps it may be deliberate or by insistence from the client.
What Does the Arbitrator Have To Do With Anything?
As an arbitrator, you have a crucial role to play in the process by asserting your authority and by providing all involved parties with a speedy arbitration process and a fair one at that. You have to have the tools to be able to manage the progress of the process and the support of the court at your discretion. It is the arbitrator’s primary responsibility to police the process and take action against any behavior or happenings that compromise the fairness of either party. Bad conduct has to be penalized by the arbitrator, and there are sets of techniques that are helpful in heading off bad conduct and disruptive behavior, no matter what the reason for it.
What Does An Arbitrator Do To Deter Bad Conduct?
In the event that attorneys are not performing properly during the process, there are a number of things an arbitrator could do to place things on track again. Firstly, ensure that all the parties involved and the counsel are all aware of the arbitration rules before the hearing commences. It must be of prime importance that everybody understands that the hearing is to be conducted as per the rules of arbitration rather than the rules of the court. Secondly, every arbitrator has his or her preferences when it comes to submissions and discovery, and it is best that your specific preferences are made clear. Engaging with the parties involved in a forthright manner is best, and be open to any questions to enforce understanding.
Another pointer worth noting as an arbitrator is that it can be highly beneficial to constantly remind the involved parties of what your expectations for the most economical and efficient process are. Doing this by means of conference calls or pre-hearing orders and whatever other opportunities present themselves will help reduce the chances of disruptive tactics or bad conduct from either party. Be vigorous with your educating them and be firm, and always check that everyone has been briefed on the same information and has agreed to the terms.
Don’t Be Afraid To Turn Down
Not all arbitration lawyers are created equal, and if you find that you do not have the experience required to handle the dispute resolution well, it is best that you decline to provide your services and instead take on the responsibility of dispute resolutions for which you are better equipped. The parties can always find a better-suited arbitrator, and it will be far less stress on your shoulders to decline than to handle the arbitration process out of your comfort zone.
Being the best at what you do is not about doing everything that comes your way, it is about doing what you know, and sticking to what you know. There is room for learning but not at the expense of others, and so there is always a time and a place for learning. Here you learned a few techniques on how to handle difficult attorneys in the arbitration process, and so you are better able to avoid and to handle such cases. Continue learning and strive to improve in every aspect of your career!