While litigation and arbitration share many similarities, they also differ in several fundamental respects. With its streamlined procedures, arbitration offers significant time and cost efficiencies, as well as confidentiality, flexibility, less formality and greater control. Approaching arbitration with a litigation mindset can undermine these benefits and thwart the intentions of the parties that chose this mechanism for resolving their dispute. Here are some tactics for formulating a mindset that will enhance the effectiveness of the arbitration process.
• Be practical—fit the process to the dispute. An arbitration provision that the parties agreed upon long before the dispute arose ultimately may be unsuitable in the particular circumstance. For example, the provision may contain impractical timeframes, requiring an award to be issued even before the panel is appointed. When the dispute arises, review the arbitration terms in light of the type and nature of the actual dispute and work with the panel to adjust the terms and the process to meet the parties’ needs.
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