Front & Center: Chairing an Arbitration - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 60, No. 3
Attorney Michael J. Bayard is a full-time construction arbitrator, mediator and project neutral. He is a member of the AAA’s Master Arbitrator Roster and currently chairs the AAA’s Construction Advisory Committee for the Los Angeles Region. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, where he teaches “construction management” in the graduate program in real estate development. Mr. Bayard may be reached toll free at (800) 652-2927 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judith B. Ittig practices law in Washington, D.C. She is also an arbitrator and mediator, serving on the AAA’s panels for construction, commercial and international cases, as well as the large, complex case panel. She was recently named to the AAA’s National Construction Master Arbitrator Roster. Mrs. Ittig has been on the AAA’s arbitrator training faculty since 1996, and she helped develop the two-day advanced arbitrator training course. She may be contacted at USBuildlaw@aol.com.
The chair of an arbitration panel has a unique role. Two experienced arbitrators, who have chaired many panels and served together, outline their shared ideas about the chair’s special responsibilities and obligations and how to carry them out.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
We have each chaired many arbitration panels, and in one very large, multi-party case, one of us (Judith) was an arbitrator on a tribunal that the other (Mike) chaired. Mike is located in Los Angeles and Judith lives and works in Washington, D.C. Working together at a long distance from each other required special attention to case management among the three arbitrators. That experience, along with our separate work as chairs of other panels, led us to offer our perspectives on the unique role of a panel chair.
This article contains our shared thinking about how to manage the responsibilities of chairing an arbitration.
The panel chair is the leader and the voice of the panel. However, the chair has no more authority than the other arbitrators do to decide the dispute. To be effective, the chair must treat the co-arbitrators with a high level of respect. The chair’s job is to manage, not usurp, the authority of the other arbitrators.
What follows is our vision of how a panel chair should act from the time of appointment through the signing and delivery of the award.