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Arbitration Trends in 2014

by Beth Graham
December 2014

Disputing Blog by Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes

Beth Graham

A survey recently conducted by Today’s General Counsel asked in-house attorneys about their thoughts on arbitration. The results published in Arbitration Trends 2014 indicate that nearly half of lawyers surveyed normally choose arbitration over traditional litigation because it is required by contract. In addition, 38 percent stated they select arbitration because it is less expensive than litigating a case and the process preserves confidentiality. Limited discovery, a shorter amount of time to resolution, and arbitrator expertise also plays a significant role in whether in-house counsel opts to arbitrate a dispute.

In contrast, 66 percent of the lawyers surveyed said their primary reason for choosing litigation over arbitration is the difficulty of appealing an arbitrator’s decision. Other factors that affected each in-house attorney’s decision to avoid arbitration included a perceived lack of arbitrator neutrality and “the fact that the arbitration process is not required to follow legal rules.”

About one-fourth of respondents stated arbitration was a better solution than engaging in the judicial process. Despite this, approximately 21 percent of lawyers surveyed indicated they felt the exact opposite was true. The survey also revealed some interesting comments from respondents. For example, a number of the in-house attorneys queried believe arbitration that is preceded by mediation is likely the best approach. Other respondents reportedly feel the arbitral process does not save time over litigation and called into question its cost effectiveness.

You may read the full text of the survey results online.

Biography


Beth Graham received a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2004 and a M.A. in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri in 2006. She also holds a B.S. in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She is licensed to practice law in Texas and the District of Columbia.



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