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February 16, 2022

How to Become a Arbitrator with or without a Degree

Are you good at resolving disputes? Maybe your friends and family ask you for help in fixing their disputes because they trust your opinion? Arbitration is a way to solve disputes outside of court, privately. Becoming an arbitrator could be a good option if you’re interested in conflict resolution.

Alternative dispute resolution professionals like arbitrators are not a common, well-known career; however, this article will go over what an arbitrator is and steps you can take to become an arbitrator.

What is an Arbitrator?

An arbitrator is an alternative dispute resolution professional with formal arbitration training. Most arbitrators, though not all, are attorneys who have previously represented parties now subject to arbitration. Arbitrators are required to maintain neutrality and may serve as the sole arbitrator on the case or as one of a few on an arbitration panel.

The arbitrator is an impartial person chosen by the parties. The role of an arbitrator is similar to that of a judge but arbitrators typically encourage collaborative communication between the involved parties in the hopes that the dispute may be resolved. The arbitrator will read briefs and documentary evidence, hear testimony, examine evidence and render an opinion on liability and damages to conclude the hearing.

Lastly, an arbitrator (and the rules of the governing body they belong to) will set the procedures for the arbitration process, hold status conferences, and preside over the final arbitration hearing in order to reach a binding conclusion. Click here for more information on the arbitration process.

Where to Find Arbitration Education and Training

To become an arbitrator, you want to start with a licensed training program. You can find arbitration training through many different avenues, though mostly member organizations and university law schools.

The most noted arbitration institutions provide training options on their websites:

  • American Arbitration Association (AAA)
  • International Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR)
  • Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS)
  • The American Bar Association (a voluntary bar association for attorneys)

When in doubt, a good place to begin your search for arbitration training is through one of the arbitration institutions above. Many other continuing legal education providers provide arbitration training as well. In some cases, particular arbitration specialties and regulatory authorities provide training specific to their practice specialities. For example, if you want to become an arbitrator for the financial industry, it is probably a good idea to take training specific to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requirements in addition to your arbitration training and licensing.

Another great option for beginning your search is to search the Bar Association website for the jurisdiction you want to operate in. These websites are often rich with sources of arbitration training options and information.

Note: When selecting a panel, AAA requires members to have experience with civil law, have advanced degrees in an accredited college, and maintain a minimum number of hours as an arbitrator per year.

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Choose Your Arbitration Speciality

Similar to mediation, almost any legal practice area can be an arbitration specialty. Keeping in mind that arbitrators do not get involved in criminal disputes, arbitration is not common (but in some jurisdictions possible) for family or domestic relations cases.

When it comes to choosing an arbitration specialty, be sure to select a practice area that you have deep legal and industry knowledge in. Remember, you don’t have to be a lawyer or attorney to transition into this field. For example, if you were previously an insurance broker, you may now want to choose to focus your arbitration practice on insurance disputes. If you were previously a software engineer at a tech company, you may want to focus your practice on resolving disputes between tech companies and their customers.

While legal experience isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for choosing an arbitration specialty, you will need additional training for any specialties you don’t have strong expertise in.

Fourth Party and Your Arbitration Career

If you become an arbitrator or already practicing alternative dispute resolution – you’ll need to maximize time, money, and client relationships with smart, useful features. That’s where we come in. Fourth Party is the best app for mediators and arbitrators to execute safe and secure conflict resolution. When alternative dispute resolution professionals are on-the-move, they can trust our dynamic note-taking tool during in-person and virtual hearings to recap next steps or action steps. Also, ADRs can close cases with confidence with our post-reporting feature that helps navigate compliance at the state and federal level.

The Fourth Party app is intuitive, designed to help ADR professionals like mediators and arbitrators manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place.

Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.