Litigation, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution

Outten & Golden’s attorneys have been successfully arbitrating cases for years. Many litigators who are experienced in the courtroom lack experience with the unique rules, procedures, and practices of arbitration. Yet arbitration is becoming more and more important, as employers require their employees to sign agreements that require them to arbitrate their disputes.

Arbitration and Mediation before FINRA, AAA, and JAMS

Outten & Golden regularly appears in arbitration cases before all of the major arbitration entities, including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (also known as FINRA), the American Arbitration Association (also known as the AAA), and Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (also known as JAMS), the latter two being private dispute resolution organizations. Outten & Golden’s successful hearings in arbitration (the equivalent of trials in a court) are among the largest results that any firm has ever obtained in any employment case – in arbitration or in court – including arbitration awards in excess of $70 million and $18.9 million, to cite two recent examples.* The fact that Outten & Golden has achieved these results is helpful in encouraging employers and their counsel to consider settling disputes or agreeing to mediate claims, rather than forcing arbitration or taking unreasonable positions.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration is a well-established and widely-used means to end disputes. It is one of several kinds of alternative dispute resolution which provide the parties to a controversy an alternative to litigation. Unlike litigation, arbitration takes place out of court in an informal setting: the two sides to the dispute select an impartial third party, known as an arbitrator; agree in advance to comply with the arbitrator's award; and then participate in a hearing at which both sides can present evidence and testimony. The arbitrator's decision is usually final, and courts rarely reexamine it.

Advantages of Arbitration

Efficiency is perhaps arbitration’s greatest advantage. Arbitration is generally simpler, cheaper, and faster than litigation. Arbitration also provides flexibility: the parties can usually choose their own arbitrator(s), including someone who is an expert on the topic in dispute, which a judge seldom is. This makes arbitration especially useful in complex, technical commercial disputes. Arbitrators are also freer than judges to use their discretion in deciding disputes because they do not have to adhere to strict legal principle and procedures and generally do not have to give reasons to support their awards (unless the arbitration agreement calls for a “reasoned decision”), although they are expected to adhere to the Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes. Finally, a significant advantage is that arbitration is private. This avoids the disclosure of confidential information, trade secrets, and potentially embarrassing information.

Arbitration Models

Arbitration can be voluntary or required. The traditional model is voluntary, and closely linked to contract law: parties often stipulate in contracts that they will arbitrate, rather than litigate, when disputes arise. However, there is a growing trend of making arbitration clauses mandatory in employment contracts. This is known as “forced” or “mandatory” arbitration.

Contact Experienced Arbitration Attorneys

Because of Outten & Golden’s recognized experience arbitrating cases, attorneys as well as employees consult with Outten & Golden when they are faced with an upcoming arbitration hearing or need guidance or answers to questions concerning how to bring cases in arbitration successfully. If you need representation for an arbitration, please contact the firm through the “Contact Us” form or by calling us in the New York, San Francisco or Washington, DC office (see bottom of page for phone numbers) to begin the Outten & Golden intake process.

(*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.)