“When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?”

– Benjamin Franklin

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.

  • Arbitration

    • Generally Private/Confidential
    • Arbitrator(s) decide
    • Decision within 30 days
    • Informal
    • Flexible
    • Comfortable setting
    • No appeal

  • Litigation

    • Public
    • Judge or jury decides
    • Decision by jury or taken under advisement
    • Formal
    • Inflexible
    • Courtroom
    • May be appealed


Arbitration is scheduled either by agreement of the parties or by court referral. Depending upon the contract that requires arbitration or on the amount or complexity of the controversy in question, the parties usually have a Pre-Arbitration Conference.

After the initial filing and initiation has been received:

  • I will send out a confirmation letter giving details regarding the date and location of the arbitration and notifying the parties of the Pre-Arbitration Conference.  During the Pre-Arbitration Conference Call, the date is set for the arbitration and rules are agreed upon for the conduct of the case including the discovery process, witnesses, subpoenas venue, place of the arbitration and other details. By its nature, arbitration is a process based upon a contract, which may have very specific rules regarding the venue, number of arbitrators, the types of discovery, the jurisdiction and the set of rules.
  • I will also send an Agreement to Arbitrate to the attorneys or to the parties, if unrepresented.  This document contains the arbitration rules, as well as the hourly rate of the arbitrator and responsibility for payment.  All parties and attorneys must sign this agreement prior to the start of the arbitration. Our rules are fairly simple and practical to administer. The parties may agree to the set of rules or agree to make additions to the rules.  I will help the parties choose the most comfortable setting for the arbitration hearing to take place and provide all necessary amenities.
  • After discussing the amount of time that will necessary to complete the arbitration and formulation of the arbitration award, I will estimate the amount of time required and notify the parties that a sum of money must be deposited prior to the arbitration.  Unless there are multiple parties, each party will be responsible for one-half of the fee. If the arbitration and award consume less time than estimated, money will be refunded.  If more time is used, I will inform the parties so they will pay the final amount prior to the releasing of the arbitration award.
  • The nature of the presentation of the case is similar to a court proceeding.  Each side presents witnesses and exhibits and cross-examines the witness.  The rules of evidence are relaxed, emphasizing common sense and relevance.
  • Following the hearing, the arbitrator(s) will either issue a decision (award) at the hearing or issue a written decision in 30 days.  Unless there are serious procedural problems, the arbitrator(s)’ decision is not appealable and the decision is final.
  • If there is a court filing at the time of the arbitration, which has been stayed, the award may be filed as an order of the court.  The order may be enforced as all other orders of the court are enforced through legal collection measures.  If no filing has been done prior to the arbitration, depending on the amount of the award, a complaint requesting enforcement may be made at the General Sessions or Circuit Courts of Tennessee or appropriate courts of another state. The Tennessee statute is T.C.A. 29-5-101 et seq. will be followed for any orders enforced in Tennessee.

Call (615) 292-6069 to schedule an arbitration

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.”

– Mick Jagger & Keith Richards