Fortunately the answer to this question is today. Like mediation, arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Both sides have contractually agreed that in the event of a disagreement, the conflict will be brought to an arbitrator(s) to resolve rather than through litigation. The parties are looking for a more flexible, cost-effective, timely and efficient resolution to their disagreement.
Arbitration is different from mediation in that parties do not retain control of the conflict resolution process, they are bound by the decision of the arbitrator(s). Arbitration can be more costly than mediation because attorneys may wish to conduct a considerable amount of discovery prior to arbitration. Oftentimes parties will arrange for arbitration but then decide they would rather have mediation. I have expertise in and facilitate both.
Generally I serve as an neutral and independent arbitrator through the American Arbitration Association (AAA). As a former judge and member of AAA’s National Roster of Arbitrators and Mediators, I have industry-specific subject matter experience, am bound by a Model Standards of Conduct and receive ongoing training. Some contracts specify that a specific organization will be used for an arbitration, such as the AAA or the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, while other contracts make no specification. If no organization is specified in the contract, the parties may agree to have me arrange the arbitration either as a sole arbitrator or manage a panel of arbitrators. I have access to and can arrange arbitrators (many of whom are AAA members) who are local to Tennessee and, therefore, the filing fee is substantially lower than required by many of the national organizations. The rules of arbitration we use are substantially similar to the rules used by other organizations but more practical.