The obligation of the legal profession is, or has long been thought to be, to serve as healers of human conflicts. To fulfill that traditional obligation means that there should be mechanisms that can produce an acceptable result in the shortest possible time, with the least possible expense and with a minimum of stress on the participants. That is what justice is all about.
There is, of course, very little new that can be said about the subject of voluntary arbitration, especially to a group of sophisticated lawyers and businessmen. If there were some new or profound thoughts, I would hardly be quaified to spell them out. Before going on the Bench, I participated in eight or ten arbitration situations of a commercial nature and in one rather large international disposition that was a hybrid of arbitration, conciliation and negotiation. As a private attorney, I was no stranger to arbitration in the labor management areas, both as an advocate and as an arbitrator. Labor unions paid me the compliment in those days of consenting to my acting as the neutral or public member of panels on interpretation disputes under labor contracts.
My overview of the work of the courts from a dozen years on the Court of Appeals and now 16 in my present position, added to 20 years of private practice, has given me some new perspectives on the problems of arbitration.