Although you can technically represent yourself in a legal arbitration process, it is not advisable. If more is at stake than what a lawyer will cost you, and you are able to afford a lawyer, making the choice to retain legal representation may be a very smart decision. An arbitration lawyer will allow you to avoid a steep learning curve about the actual process, the topic of the dispute, and other important elements.
The Pros and Cons of Arbitration
If you’re in the beginning stages of a legal matter and a lawyer is recommending you consider arbitration as a method to resolve the dispute, you might first want to weight out the pros and the cons. The following is a general view of arbitration. Many of these can appear as a pro and a con; thus, it will depend on your own perspective and circumstances on how arbitration could affect the case.
The Pros of Arbitration
The Cost – Typically arbitration is much more affordable than litigating in a courtroom.
The Time – With a few exceptions, an arbitration often has specific timelines that must be followed. Furthermore, many arbitration lawyers take on limited caseloads to ensure each client gets the right amount of attention. This usually results in faster dispute resolution.
Fairness – In general, arbitrators are chosen by both parties. They might also be selected by a third party arbitration service, an arbitration lawyer, or another method. At no time will a single party control the arbitrator(s).
It’s Final – Typically arbitration rulings cannot be appealed. This can be true even when obvious mistakes have been made. The reason for this is so that both parties can end the dispute once and for all.
Easier Procedures – Arbitration eliminates much of the complex procedures that are found in litigation.
Completely Confidential – As one of the biggest benefits for some people, arbitration remains confidential. They do not take place in a public courtroom and the transcripts are not added to the public record.
The Cons of Arbitration
The Cost – The cost might also be a “con” because the arbitration might not resolve the problem. This may be relevant in cases that are non-binding which means the parties can appeal the decision and take the case to court. When this happens the cost will likely be significantly higher as now litigation, and a good lawyer is needed.
The Time – Arbitrations are not always open and close cases. Sometimes they do exceed the time a litigation would have taken. This is more common when multiple parties, several arbitrators, and complex legal matters are involved.
The Location – Some contracts that mandate arbitration will also stipulate a location for the process to take place. This location could be extremely inconvenient, including in another state. When this is true, the cost of an arbitration could rise. Furthermore, if a lawyer is representing you, he or she might also be required to make travel arrangements.
It’s Final – Arbitration rulings usually cannot be appealed regardless of even the biggest mistake being made. If this happens (although it’s not too common), the losing party might view arbitration as unfair.
No Jury – When you choose arbitration over litigation, you waive your right to a jury. This means a jury of peers no longer hears your side of the story. Rather the decision is in the hands of an arbitrator.
Are You Looking for Legal Arbitrator?
Many reputable lawyers have arbitrated numerous cases for clients of all types. To learn more about arbitration services, call a personal injury lawyer Washington, D.C., residents trust today.
Thanks to our friends at Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for their insight into arbitration.
Brian Gormley, Esq. is an attorney licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia specializing in real estate, probate, estate litigation and other matters. If you need assistance, please use the Contact Feature at the bottom of this page.