When it comes to selecting a mediator or arbitrator for your dispute resolution process, it's important to consider the type of experience, professional credentials, and specialized knowledge they possess. Having an arbitrator who is knowledgeable in the field can save you time and money that would otherwise be spent educating the judge. It's also important to consider their legal training and main area of practice, as well as their organizational and IT skills if the arbitration is expected to be lengthy with a lot of evidence. FINRA mediators are experienced in the field, so parties can select a mediator who is familiar with the areas of controversy that are the subject of the dispute.
This can provide each party with an expert, albeit unbiased, view of the strengths and weaknesses of their overall case. They can also discuss what could happen if the dispute isn't resolved. Arbitration uses a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, to resolve the conflict between parties outside the courtroom. The arbitrator acts as a private judge to hear the evidence and make decisions to determine the outcome of the dispute.
This means that in arbitration, the private judge has control of the process and the outcome, while in mediation, the disputing parties maintain control. The mediator can assume the role of arbitrator (if eligible) and issue a binding decision quickly, or they can take up the case after consulting with the mediator. When selecting an arbitrator or juror in voir dire, experienced lawyers and trial judges know that their real objective is to discover and eliminate any potential bias against their version of the case. It's also important to consider if they have other arbitrations in process or if they are also a mediator, practicing lawyer, judicial arbitrator, appointed retired judge, or if they have an extended vacation planned. Once both parties have done their due diligence, they should compile and exchange their list of acceptable arbitrators.
It's also worth searching for previous arbitration awards rendered in similar cases by the arbitrator under consideration. Before resorting to arbitration, I suggest one last chance to resolve any issues. It's also important to investigate other individuals who have used the arbitrator about their billing practices. Just because you didn't accept that arbitrator for one case doesn't mean they aren't excellent for another where there is no conflict.