Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 20, 2013

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In some instances, if you have signed an arbitration clause with a company, the contract will specify exactly who your arbitrator will be. In other instances, however, you may decide to arbitrate on your own, such as if you want to avoid divorce litigation. In such instances, there are some things you should consider before hiring anyone claiming to be qualified. Remember, arbitration is legally binding once you agree to it and your opportunity to appeal to federal courts will only result in a new decision if there was some major procedural error. Generally, whatever decision the arbitrator makes is going to be one you have to live with. This means it is imperative to do your research and find a good arbitrator before you make a final choice.

Finding an Arbitrator

Your lawyer should be the first person that you contact in regards to finding an arbitrator. Lawyers usually have networks in the field of dispute resolution that can far outreach your own, and they rarely deal with people with insufficient qualifications. Most likely, your lawyer has information on which arbitrator has prior experience in what area, and will likely have one or more people to recommend. In fact, your lawyer will probably have an opinion about which of your choices might be more or less biased and more or less likely to rule in your favor. You’ll know at least that the recommendation is coming from an expert you can trust.  

In some cases, though, you may need to find an arbitrator on your own. Perhaps you aren’t using a lawyer. Although arbitrating a case without legal representation is not recommended, you could visit the American Arbitration Association to view a list of qualified arbitration specialists in your area. If you’re still unsure about the party you’ve been pointed toward, you can inquire as to their business standing with the Better Business Bureau to obtain any record of actions filed against them or reports with the bureau.