Roger B. Jacobs is principal at Jacobs Law Offices, LLC and has written frequently on arbitration topics. He is also an Arbitrator and Mediator at FINRA, AAA, and the United States District Court. He is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law. Mr. Jacobs would like to acknowledge the assistance of Laura Maletta who did most of the research, particularly regarding historical context. Laura is a 2011 graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She is admitted in New York and New Jersey and is currently working in the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
Mandatory arbitration is in the legal news almost daily. Whether it is a dispute among condominium owners regarding repairs in Bell Tower Condominium Ass’n v. Haffert,1 cell phone add-ons that reached the Supreme Court in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion,2 landlord-tenant disputes, partnership disputes, and of course traditional employment disputes, among others, a significant concern is the potential diminution of rights and remedies. However, those concerns can be ameliorated by an arbitration agreement as well as through the scope of authority of arbitrators. The ABA Litigation Journal recently had a discussion on the expansive/expensive process of arbitration and proposed methods of curtailing this process.3
The American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) is discussing “muscular” arbitration and focusing heavily on streamlining the arbitral process so that it does not just mimic federal court litigation.4 Some of these problems can be resolved by the parties themselves.