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Arbitration is a cost-effective alternative to resolving disputes and is often required by a clause in contracts entered into by individuals or entities.
In arbitration, an arbitrator — a professional, impartial third party such as an arbitration attorney or judge — presides over a hearing. The opposing parties select the arbitrator and agree to abide by the arbitrator’s decision.
Evidence and testimony can be presented at an arbitration hearing and the arbitrator’s decision can be final. Non-binding arbitration may be appealed whereas binding arbitration may not. Arbitration participants decide whether or not the decision made will be binding.
Should I Hire an Attorney to Represent Me in Arbitration?
Engaging an attorney experienced in arbitration to represent you at an arbitration hearing is in your best interests. You are not required to have legal counsel at the hearing.
Having legal counsel at the hearing is advantageous. The decision to hire an attorney includes the following:
- Financial significance of the dispute
- Costs of arbitration
- Your financial ability, funds and assets
- Opposition is, or is not, represented by an attorney
If you decide not to hire a lawyer to represent you during the hearing, it would be wise to consult with an attorney to prepare for the hearing.
What Can an Arbitration Attorney Do?
After reviewing the facts and circumstances of the dispute, your attorney can determine if arbitration is best for you. In many situations you are contractually obligated to go to arbitration.
Your arbitration attorney:
- Can walk you through the arbitration procedure in order to prepare you and explain your rights and obligations.
- Will help you develop your evidence, select witnesses, and prepare you to testify at the hearing, should you choose to do so.
- Can help you prepare paperwork regarding the terms of arbitration and other documents required.
You may use your attorney to protect you throughout the arbitration process or use your attorney for defined tasks.