An arbitration lawyer for your business or employment disputes.
If you are required to arbitrate your business dispute or employment rights, you need counsel experienced with the rules and procedures specific to arbitration proceedings.
If you are unsure whether to include an arbitration provision in your business or employment contracts, we can guide you through that important decision.
Is arbitration mandatory?
Contracts usually address what happens when things go wrong. A contract may say which law governs, and where the parties must file any lawsuit. Sometimes, a contract requires the parties to resolve their disputes through arbitration rather than in state or federal court.
State and federal law continues to address the enforceability and limits of mandatory arbitration provisions. Those developing issues are especially important in the context of arbitrating workplace rights and class action claims.
Companies that are considering whether to add arbitration clauses to their agreements should consult with an attorney in their state to assess the most recent developments.
Should I require arbitration in my contracts?
The decision whether to require arbitration can have a huge impact on a company’s rights.
Businesses, especially those with employees, may prefer arbitration for several reasons:
Arbitration is more confidential than state or federal courts, which are public forums. Businesses may prefer to keep their employment or commercial disputes private. Indeed, some parties may use the possibility of a public dispute as leverage in negotiating a settlement. Arbitration minimizes that leverage.
Usually, arbitration rules allow for more limited “discovery” than state or federal court rules. Discovery consists of the materials and information that the parties can ask each other to produce during the dispute. Discovery may include written questions (called interrogatories), requests for documents and other things, and depositions of persons or companies with information relevant to the case.
Arbitration also provides a more streamlined process than litigation. Federal and state courts often allow filing numerous types of motions with the court, and the designation of various experts to help the parties present their evidence. Arbitrations tend to significantly restrict such procedures.
As a result of the limited discovery and process, arbitration is often quicker and less costly than litigation in state or federal courts. Also, an arbitrator (or a small panel of arbitrators) will hear the case and decide the outcome. By contrast, litigation is often decided by juries, which may require a more elaborate presentation of evidence.
Businesses also take the risk that a jury will be more sympathetic to an “underdog” employee than a company, especially a larger corporation.
On the other hand, companies trying to recruit top talent need to consider the impact of including an arbitration clause in their offer letters. Some prospective employees may respond negatively to giving up their right to litigate in a public court before a jury.
Guidance and representation
We provide guidance to companies that are drafting business and employment contracts, including whether to resolve disputes through arbitration. If you are forced to arbitrate a business or employment dispute, we can serve as your arbitration lawyer. We work to pursue your rights, minimize disruption, and prevent the harm that may result from an adverse arbitration decision.