How to Become an Arbitrator:

Top 5 Ways How to Learn Arbitration


Becoming an arbitrator can be an interesting and lucrative career path. In order to become an arbitrator, there are certain requirements that must be met, and protocols to follow to be successful.

Top 5 Ways to Become an Arbitrator - Arbitration Expert (ADR)

Top 5 Ways to Become an Arbitrator - Arbitration Expert (ADR)

What exactly is arbitration?

Arbitration is a formal process where disputes are resolved and an award is made. An arbitrator acts as an overseer and judge by evaluating the evidence presented, applying the law and issuing a reward. The cases can be simple or complex, but the arbitrator must be well-versed in the industry and area of which the dispute is being presented.

Here are the top 5 ways how to learn arbitration:

  • Enroll in a bachelor’s degree program

The first step in becoming an arbitrator is to pursue your bachelor’s degree. It is important to have legal or industry experience in the areas being considered for arbitration.

  • Enroll in a graduate program or obtain a certificate

Although anyone can become an arbitrator, most of these individuals are experienced attorneys or business people. Obtaining a Juris Doctor (JD) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) will be helpful. Most graduate programs or law schools offer certificates in dispute resolution. There are a number of courses to consider, including practical strategies, conflict resolution and cultural issues.

  • Gain experience

Nothing demonstrates how to learn arbitration better than getting experience in the legal or industry you are interested in. Work experience is the best teacher, and individuals should be prepared to spend many years learning the ropes.

  • Join a panel

By belonging to a panel or roster of arbitrators, individuals interested in becoming an arbitrator will get first-hand knowledge. There are a number of professional organizations that require between 5-10 years of experience, which includes coursework and completion of a training program.

  • Training courses

It goes without saying that a training course is the number one way to learn arbitration. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) offers a 40-hour training course, and there are a number of continuing education requirements that are required every year. Additionally, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) has a program in Domestic and International Arbitration which covers:

  • The law of arbitration

  • The law of obligations

  • Arbitration practice and procedure

  • Award writing

Knowing where to go to obtain the information needed to become an arbitrator makes a difference. There are a number of independent arbitrators, and those who work for agencies. Individuals who have attended law school must sit for the bar and become licensed. The rules and requirements vary per state. If aspiring to become an arbitrator in a certain specialty, a state-issued arbitration license must be obtained in that area. The requirements will vary based on that specialization, but usually include education, experience and exam knowledge (ex: real estate).

How can this information assist those wanting to become an arbitrator?

This knowledge can assist those who are interested in becoming arbitrators to better prepare for the future and put a plan of action into place to move forward. This can save time and money while assisting individuals in determining which specialization, if any, or whether or not law school will be the better decision. Being proactive in this decision takes thought, patience and a large amount of legwork to put things in motion. Getting the opportunity to speak with or see arbitrators in action is key.

A number of individuals who are interested in becoming arbitrators seek out opportunities through extracurricular activities, like the debate team, toastmasters, heading an organization, and other areas where exercising judgment and an alternative viewpoint is needed. This helps in decision-making and weighing all the facts without bias.

An arbitrator is a leader in so many ways. Taking the initiative to help others through serving the public can be rewarding. It can also make a difference for a number of individuals who do not have the money or means to go through the costly hassle of litigation.


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