You Control the Process v. The Process Controls You - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 64, No. 4
John Arrastia Jr., a Miami, Florida-based attorney, practices mainly in the areas of domestic and international commercial litigation and arbitration. He has represented quasi-governmental entities as well as commercial enterprises of every size, both public and private. He serves on the AAA panel of arbitrators. He holds an LL.M. in international arbitration and litigation from Cambridge University. He may be reached at www.arrastia-law.com.
Christi L. Underwood, a commercial arbitrator, has been on the AAA panel since 1989. She is a member of the bar in Florida, New York and the District of Columbia; a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and the College of Commercial Arbitrators; and a representative on the AAA National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee. In addition, she serves on the American Arbitration Association Board of Directors. Before graduating from the law school at the University of Florida, she obtained her general contractor’s license and owned a commercial construction company. She can be reached at www.clu-law.com.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
What trial lawyer would not want to be able to select the judge hearing the case? Arbitration allows the parties to determine the arbitrator’s background. Unlike litigation, it gives them choices and flexibity to design a process to fit their needs.
The advantages of a properly structured and well-managed arbitration are especially valuable today. With clients insisting on more manageable litigation budgets and the courts clogged with the fallout from a struggling economy, efficiency and reduced overall costs are becoming the polestars of healthy client relations.
Arbitration is intended to be quicker, less expensive, and more efficient than litigation. But many litigators complain that the process has become cumbersome and expensive. This happens when trial attorneys treat the arbitration process as they would federal or state court litigation. Why? One explanation is that they are taught to litigate using the court’s rules of procedure and evidence, and when faced with the less structured and less familiar arbitration process, they naturally turn to what they know and thus, try to incorporate the rules and procedures of court into the arbitration process. This transforms arbitration into a mirror image of court litigation, with the attendant expense and delay.