The Ten Commandments of Arbitration: Some Guidelines for Arbitrators - Chapter 16 - AAA Handbook on Commercial Arbitration, Third Edition
Lee M. Finkel
Robert F. Oberstein
Lee M. Finkel, JD, worked for many years as In-house Employment Counsel for Fortune 500 companies and then taught and worked in management at University of Phoenix before retiring in 2015. He continues to serve on the American Arbitration Association’s roster of neutrals. He resides in Phoenix, Arizona.
Robert F. Oberstein, M.S., SPHR, IPMA-HR/CP, has worked in the public and private sectors representing both labor and management and as mediator and arbitrator. He served as Director of the Labor Management Relations Program at Ottawa University, Phoenix, and taught classes in Human Resources/Labor Relations and Conflict Resolution. He resides in Seattle Washington.
Both authors serve on the American Arbitration Association’s roster of neutrals.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF ARBITRATION: SOME GUIDELINES FOR ARBITRATORS
Lee M. Finkel and Robert F. Oberstein
The Ten Commandments of Arbitration
I.Maintain a “judicial” presence. Parties expect a “judicial” presence even though the neutral does not wear a robe. An arbitrator’s demeanor establishes that judicial presence by (1) personifying impartiality and fairness in appearance, words and deeds; (2) respecting the parties and the process; (3) demonstrating confidence in her or his abilities; and (4) possessing the management skills to efficiently lead the process.
II.Know the arbitration rules. Well-prepared parties are familiar with the rules governing arbitration proceedings. Professional arbitrators must be similarly well prepared. One of the many advantages of serving on the American Arbitration Association’s roster of neutrals is the guidance of its arbitration rules in connection with conducting a fair and impartial hearing.
III.Control the process. Arbitrators must control the process from first contact until issuing the award. It is easier to lose control than maintain it. Arbitrators should communicate their guidelines for the conduct of the hearing to all parties. To maintain impartiality, these guidelines must be enforced even-handedly.