Jorge R. Cibran, Architect, is a Division Director for Miami-Dade Public Housing & Community Development. He also serves on the American Arbitration Association's roster of arbitrators.
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Know the facts and issues in your case and how to arbitrate.Successful advocates in arbitration understand that arbitration differsfrom litigation, and that this is even truer when the arbitrator is aconstruction industry professional. In such a case, the arbitrator isalready knowledgeable about construction principles and may even haveexpertise in the particular type of dispute. Thus, it is essential for counselto “get up to speed” to present a convincing case. The arbitrator withconstruction experience and expertise knows when the attorneys areunprepared or lack an understanding of the facts and issues.
It also is critical to know the arbitral rules that apply. Judicial rulesof procedure and evidence are relaxed, unless the parties’ arbitrationagreement otherwise provides. Arbitrators who are constructionprofessionals appreciate attorneys who present a case consistent with thearbitration rules rather than trying to turn arbitration into a courtroomproceeding; they prefer to rely on arbitration’s key benefit—a quickresolution at a lower cost.
II. Presenting a Thorough and Effective Case
A. Argue the Facts
Most decisions by construction arbitrators are fact-driven. Too oftenattorneys focus their presentations on legal issues, failing to pay adequateattention to the key construction facts in the case. For example, in a