arbitration proceedings, the Chair guides the procedural issues. This
discusses the role of the Chair and provides guidance.
Mr. Robbins writes: Most procedural issues fall on the
shoulders of the panel Chairperson. How that authority is exercised is
determinative of the outcome of a case, for the parties and the other
arbitrators will look to the Chairperson for guidance. Resolution of all
procedural issues should be memorialized in a Pre-Hearing Order
conference with the parties, providing a roadmap for the subsequent
administration of the controversy. Direct communication thereafter with
Chairperson or all three arbitrators (bypassing the administrators but
conforming to the forum's rules on that subject) prior to a hearing
encouraged to resolve discovery issues in advance of the hearing.
direct communication with the Chair will go a long way in assuring an
expeditious substantive hearing. Most, if not all, pre-hearing issues
argued by the parties and decided by the Chair through electronic mail.
Chairs Must Take Charge
Hearings that move along at a good clip are those in which the Chair is
in charge of the proceeding. The Chair must have a certain presence that
his or her fellow arbitrators and all the parties together to make the
proceeding a coherent and fair one. What should a Chair do with
prefer to litigate as opposed to arbitrate a case or who
or are unable to adapt to the relative informality of the arbitration
"If the case is to move expeditiously," counsels FINRA's The
Manual, "the Chair may be required to interrupt an attorney
formalities, explain the proper procedure, and remind counsel that he or
in an arbitration proceeding. If the conduct of the attorney continues,
Chair should become more forceful.''
It is the Chair who sets the tone for civility and decorum at a hearing.
she should rule with a firm hand, but with a sensitivity to the parties
sense of humor that comes from confidence in oneself and experience in
The American Arbitration Association
(AAA) has continuing education courses that can be found for its
eCenter under the "Online Training"
section of its Website. I found particularly enlightening "Presiding
Evidentiary Hearing'' and "Guiding the Panel's Deliberation and Writing
Awards.'' The overriding watchwords of "speed, economy and justice in
the hearings'' are stressed throughout the training sessions. Here are
highlights. Become an AAA arbitrator if you want to learn more.
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