Arbitration is a part of the legal field that is a type of alternative dispute resolution that involves resolving conflicts outside of the court environment. Arbitrators are legal professionals that help parties resolve their disputes.
What does an arbitrator do?
Arbitrators are neutral third parties that help people resolve their conflicts without having to go to court. They listen to each party's side and help them reach a mutual agreement. They interview the parties separately and together and gain additional information from witnesses. Arbitrators prepare written agreements and decisions that legally bind the involved parties. The parties must abide by all terms and conditions of the agreement or contract. Arbitrators analyze and evaluate the information from a variety of documents such as employer records, medical records, birth or death certificates, or claim applications. They also research policies, regulations, laws, and model decisions to prepare for hearings. Some arbitrators perform other duties such as administering oaths and issuing subpoenas for formal hearings. Others participate in public presentations regarding arbitration.
What kind of training does an arbitrator need?
Arbitrators usually need at least a bachelor degree. Many states and employers require arbitrators to have a law degree and have experience practicing as a lawyer. Many arbitrators have a master degree in law, public policy, or other related field. Many aspiring arbitrators complete internships while pursuing their education to gain practical experience in the field. Many arbitrators also complete specialized training to become certified. The training typically only last a few days. Some employers require new arbitrators to complete a criminal background check. Arbitrators must complete regular continuing education throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast on the current advancements in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as an arbitrator?
Employment of arbitrators is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% through 2018 (1). The growing population and increased need for less expensive alternatives to litigation will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be fair with limited opportunities because turnover is slow. Arbitrators with advanced qualifications and professional certification will have the best job opportunities.
How much do arbitrators make?
As of 2012, arbitrators with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $29,833 and $50,869. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $38,884 and $57,375 (2).
A career as an arbitrator is a great choice for people with a strong interest in arbitration. Arbitrators must have a solid legal background and knowledge of a variety of techniques to be able to help parties reach mutual agreements. Patience, determination, critical thinking, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Arbitrators must have excellent communication and good listening skills and keep all information regarding disputes confidential. They must also be able to assess large quantities of complex information to assist with their decisions.