Selecting the Ideal Arbitrator - Chapter 13 - AAA Handbook on Arbitration Practice - Second Edition
Charles J. Moxley, Jr., the principal in Moxley ADR LLC, has been an arbitrator on
panels of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for over 35 years, presiding over
more than 250 cases, many of them large and complex involving multiple parties,
substantial issues and high stakes. He trains arbitrators for the Dispute Resolution (DR)
Section of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), teaches arbitration law at
Fordham Law School, and serves as Distinguished ADR Practitioner in Residence at the
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of law. He was recently selected by the AAA to provide
training in effective arbitration practices in AAA training programs This article is adapted
from a presentation he made at the American Arbitration Association in New York in
June 2005 on the process of selecting an arbitrator. Mr. Moxley welcomes comments
from readers about their experiences with arbitrator selection
SELECTING THE IDEAL ARBITRATOR
Charles J. Moxley, Jr.
The quality of an arbitration obviously depends on the fairmindedness,
experience and ability of the arbitrator or panel selected to
hear the dispute. But is it sufficient for counsel to select arbitrators
having such qualities? If the question were asked in the context of jury
selection, the answer would clearly be “no.” Litigators go to famous
lengths to select jurors who seem likely to view their case favorably.
Why shouldn’t those who select arbitrators do the same?
Yet many attorneys seem to believe that, in arbitration, it is sufficient
to select well-qualified arbitrators without regard to their potential
responsiveness to the client’s case. I believe that following such an
approach misses a crucial step in the process. In over 30 years as a
commercial arbitrator I have seen many cases in which intelligent and
fair-minded arbitrators hearing the same evidence have reached
significantly different conclusions as to the appropriate award.
Identifying arbitrator candidates who are likely to be responsive to
one’s case is a daunting task. However, with the Internet and everexpanding
databases, information from which to make such a judgment
is greater than ever before.