Construction Law

Choosing the Right Arbitrator for Your Dispute featured image

Choosing the Right Arbitrator for Your Dispute

One of the most popular methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that contractors across the United States regularly utilize as an efficient form of resolving disputes without the need for a courtroom battle is arbitration. During this process, the opposing parties present their case to a neutral third party known as the arbitrator. After each party has the opportunity to present evidence and make statements, the arbitrator makes a private and legally-binding determination.

Given that the disputing parties have no control of their outcome and relinquish the power to resolve their dispute to an appointed arbitrator, it’s incredibly important that the parties perform two actions: first, seek the legal counsel of a Ft. Myers construction arbitration lawyer from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants for assistance and second, select the appropriate arbitrator for their case. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can choose an experienced arbitrator who is able to listen to both sides and pass down a final decision while upholding ethical standards. 

Related: The Qualities of a Great Arbitrator

Legal and Professional Expertise

One of the most important factors in choosing the best arbitrator for your case is their level of legal and professional experience. Generally speaking, you’ll want to choose an arbitrator with expertise that mirrors the nature of the dispute. Thus, construction arbitration will typically benefit from an arbitrator with extensive experience in the construction industry and hearing construction cases. You won’t have to waste any time explaining any of the complex rules and regulations associated with the work conducted in the construction industry, and both parties are likely to achieve a more favorable result.

While arbitration institutions typically provide the arbitrator’s resume, you should also look into the arbitrator’s prior arbitral awards in order to get a better understanding of how the arbitrator approaches the dispute, his or her decision-making process, and how he or she has ruled on similar issues in the past. Interviews conducted with the arbitrator may be likely to expose unconscious biases against a particular position or approach to arbitration as well if you should decide to look into those. Above all else, you should select an arbitrator with the legal experience and education necessary to increase your likelihood of receiving a legally sound and fair award. 

Management Skills

Another one of the most significant factors to consider when choosing an arbitrator is whether or not he or she exhibits strong management skills. A successful arbitrator should be familiar with the arbitration process, comfortable with tensions between opposing parties, and able to administer the arbitral process in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Without proper management of the process by a highly-qualified arbitrator, you’ll experience delays, unnecessary losses, disagreements among the opposing parties, and more. 

To identify an arbitrator with strong management skills, you should be on the lookout for individuals with professionalism and diplomacy. He or she should be able to listen closely to the sides of both arguments, effectively and respectfully communicate ideas and directives, and act as a knowledgeable and fair professional during the process. For a legal advocate who will help you handle all disputes related to the construction industry, including those arising from warranty claims, cost overruns, contract defaults, and more, and guide you through the arbitration process, reach out to a Ft. Myers construction dispute lawyer

Related: What are the Benefits of Arbitration? 

Practice Style

After his or her legal expertise and management skills, the most important thing you should know about your arbitrator is their practice style. The arbitrator’s practice style is essentially however they approach the process of arbitration. To help you get a better idea of your arbitrator’s practice style, here are some questions you can ask yourself while reviewing the arbitrator’s resume or interviewing the arbitrator prior to arbitration:

  • Does the arbitrator allow parties to set the pace of arbitration?
  • How does the arbitrator respond to dispositive motions?
  • Does the arbitrator like to ask questions during arbitration?

Apart from practice style, it’s also critical to locate an arbitrator that is obligated to maintain confidentiality in business settings as well as their personal life. This ensures they will do everything in their power to enforce confidentiality during the private process of arbitration. This can be further enforced by an arbitration clause within your contract that stipulates confidentiality. 

Related: What to Expect During Arbitration


Apart from anything else discussed thus far in this article, the most critical mistake you can make in choosing an arbitrator for your case is failing to ensure that the arbitrator is a good fit for your circumstances by collecting as much information regarding their expertise, personal style, and management skills as possible. There’s plenty of information available, acquired either by viewing their resume or through interviewing the arbitrator, and you are only putting your reputation and success of your business on the line by failing to properly vet your arbitrator. If you’re interested in acquiring a legal representative who is sympathetic to the unique challenges contractors face and is highly-experienced with the process of arbitration, consult a Ft. Myers construction lawyer with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.  

If you would like to speak with one of our Ft. Myers construction lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.