Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that provides an alternative to traditional litigation. It is a binding procedure—typically arising from a contractual relationship between the parties to the dispute—where either a single arbitrator (or a panel of arbitrators) is appointed to decide the matter. The arbitrator, or panel of arbitrators, essentially serve as the judge and the jury in the case. Arbitrators may be former judges, practicing lawyers, or non-lawyers with experience in the relevant industry.

Arbitration should be taken very seriously. Once the arbitrator decides the case and issues an award, that arbitration award can usually be taken to a court and quickly converted to a binding and enforceable judgment.

If a dispute arises between you and a party with whom you entered a contract, you may find yourself in arbitration. The reason that shouldn’t surprise you is because arbitration provisions are becoming more and more common in employment agreements and other commercial contracts. Employers and other companies often view arbitration as a more efficient and less expensive means to resolve disputes in comparison to a traditional lawsuit.

While arbitration is similar to a lawsuit in many ways, there are important differences that can trip up the unwary. For example, the different arbitration providers (JAMS, AAA, FINRA, etc.) have their own rules of procedure. Moreover, arbitration awards are generally very difficult to overturn. Unlike a lawsuit, there is typically no right to an appeal following an arbitration award. So, if you are looking for representation after receiving a demand for arbitration or if you want to file claims against another party that are subject to an arbitration provision, it is important to know whether the lawyer you hire is experienced in handling all aspects of arbitration from selecting the panel of arbitrators who will decide the dispute all the way through the issuance of the final award.

The lawyers at IMcP are just as experienced, comfortable, and effective in arbitration proceedings as they are in the courtroom. IMcP’s lawyers have represented financial advisors, employees, business owners, and many other clients in various arbitration proceedings pending in the major arbitration tribunals—e.g., the American Arbitration Association (AAA), JAMS, and FINRA. IMcP’s lawyers are familiar with the Federal Arbitration Act, the Texas Arbitration Act, and the unique procedural rules governing arbitration. IMcP co-founder and partner Joshua Iacuone is a registered FINRA arbitrator and has gained invaluable experience and insight into the arbitration process through that role.

IMcP’s lawyers also recognize that the best game plan for handling a dispute—and the action items to be included in that game plan—may change if the resolution forum is arbitration instead of litigation. By way of one example, the parties in an arbitration are typically afforded an opportunity to play a role in the selection of the single arbitrator or panel of arbitrators who will decide the case. This is not a “check the box” type of task in an arbitration. The arbitrator selection process is an extremely important opportunity for the parties. It is the effective equivalent to being provided the chance to have a say in selecting the judge who will decide your case—in addition to the jury selection process. IMcP’s lawyers are very strategic about the arbitrator selection process and the research/analysis that goes into same.

The bottom line is that arbitration is an increasingly common forum for dispute resolution. IMcP’s lawyers have been handling arbitrations throughout their careers and have the experience, knowledge, and skill set needed to successfully handle an arbitration proceeding from its inception through the final award.

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