An experienced arbitrator offers guidance on how to organize documentary proof in order to facilitate the work of the arbitrator and lead to a more efficient arbitration.
Generally we arbitrators tend to rely on the parties to determine how to organize and present their documents. So, unless the parties’ advocates are skilled in arbitration and know techniques to make the process of presenting evidence more efficient, at the arbitration hearing each side could end up with 10 boxes of documents nicely collected in three-inch binders. The problem for the arbitrator is that some of the documents are duplicative and many others may never be mentioned during the hearing. The more documents there are, the longer it takes to find the one that is the subject of discussion.
Even more time is usually necessary to locate specific language, or particular paragraphs or subparagraphs, in a large document, such as a contract. I have seen these logistical problems firsthand while serving as an advocate in arbitration and as an arbitrator. I think the arbitration could be made easier for the arbitrator if these problems were avoided or minimized. This can be accomplished if the arbitrator tells the parties in advance of the hearing—a good time would be the preliminary conference—how he or she would like documentary evidence to be organized. Here is my list of preferences concerning pre-hearing document organization.