ADR and Arbitration
When appropriate, we encourage alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to avoid reputational risks and litigation costs for our clients. Seiler Mitby is a recognized leader in ADR. Our commercial arbitration practice helps our clients leverage ADR while managing business risks as privately and efficiently as possible. Our litigators have significant experience successfully handling a range of ADR techniques and we can advise you on which process will best achieve your company’s goals.
Arbitration is the referral of a dispute to one or more impartial persons for a final and binding determination. Private and confidential, it is designed for quick, practical, and economical dispute resolution. Alternative means of dispute resolution like arbitration can save businesses time and money and put disputes behind you while preserving valuable business relationships.
Stages of Business Law Arbitration
Once you hire Seiler Mitby, our attorneys will prepare a Statement of Claim, which describes how you have been harmed, who harmed you, and the damages you seek. We will then file it with the appropriate administrative entity. Once the administrative entity receives your Statement of Claim, it will send a copy to the parties you are suing, who can then file their Answers.
Agreement to Arbitrate
The most important step in initiating arbitration is an agreement to arbitrate. This agreement can be made in a future-dispute arbitration clause in a contract or by the submission of an existing dispute to arbitration.
Filing and Initiation
A business arbitration case begins when one party submits a Demand for Arbitration to the American Arbitration Association (AAA). AAA notifies other party (the respondent) and a deadline is set for their response.
Arbitrator or Panel Selection
Unless the parties formally agree to a particular panel selection method, the common system for selecting an arbitrator or arbitration panel includes:
- Drafting a specially prepared list of proposed arbitrators – along with their biographical information. When drafting the list, it is important for your lawyer to consider the nature of your dispute.
- Parties review the list, strike objectionable names, and arrange the remaining arbitrators in order of preference. As part of the review process, our trial lawyers undertake additional research on all persons suggested to make the best decision.
- Where parties are unable come to a mutual agreement, additional lists may be submitted.
- If the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator, an administrative appointment will be made, with arbitrators whose names were crossed out by either party never being used.
Discovery and Hearing Preparation
Arbitration requires proper preparation just like a trial does. Our business lawyers put time into preparing you and your case for the hearing so we can present the best possible case on your behalf, including assembling relevant evidence and interviewing and preparing witnesses.
Final hearings can last anywhere from half a day to a week or longer. The hearing process in a commercial arbitration is generally somewhat less formal than a courtroom trial. Unless the case is very complex, this is usually the only hearing before the arbitrator. At the hearing itself, our attorneys make an opening statement and then present our evidence. The arbitrator or panel can ask questions. Proceedings conclude with each side presenting a closing argument.
An arbitration’s records are closed when the panel issues a decision, including an award, if applicable.
Houston Lawyers For Commercial Arbitration
While technically it is not required that any one party to an arbitration use a lawyer, we strongly recommend it. All of our trial lawyers have successfully represented clients in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and are effective advocates in presentations to arbitration panels and in other methods of negotiation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your company in arbitration.