Alternative Careers for Lawyers

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Commercial lawyers, litigators, family lawyers etc are going to be well familiar with the mechanics of ADR and the standing within their sphere of Arbitrators and Mediators.

Holding yourself out as an arbitor is the preserve of an experienced lawyer, with the requisite skills of diplomacy and articulation.

The Arbitration Act 1996 gave a long-awaited formality to arbitration.

Commercial disputes are increasingly resolved via arbitration with the associated attractions of speed and relative value-for-money. Especially since the Woolf Reforms.

Many trade associations provide an arbitration service, the arbitrators often being commercial members of the trade rather than lawyers.

There are, however, also opportunities for lawyers either as advisers to the tribunal or as award draftsmen.

Arbitration hearings vary from hour-long documents-only hearings with a sole arbitrator to a full-scale oral hearing before a panel of arbitrators with the parties represented by counsel.

Most trade associations employ a full-time secretariat who are responsible to their governing body for the day-to-day administration of the association including the preparations for arbitrations.

Individuals with a particular specialised knowledge can build a practice either as a specialised arbitrator or as an adviser to a party to a London arbitration who is unfamiliar with the mechanics of the arbitral process.

Many arbitrators operate on a 'professional', full-time basis, but it has to be said this is usually the culmination of a long career in private practice and/or including commercial industry experience, accruing the perhaps requisite gravitas.

With arbitration proceedings commenced very often as a tactical ploy to 'encourage' a settlement, arbitrators can do pretty well out of appointment fees alone.

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Bloomsbury Square
Tel:  + 44 (0) 20 7421 743