Commercial Arbitration 2.0: Re-Booting Arbitration to Make it More User-Friendly

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Originally published in Bloomberg Finance L.P. on May 16, 2012.

Commercial arbitration is going through a transformation. Faced with broad criticism that it has failed to deliver the speed, efficiency, and flexibility that ADR proponents have long promised, arbitrators are adopting a series of innovations designed to make the procedure faster, more predictable, and more user-friendly. We are experiencing the roll out of Commercial Arbitration 2.0. The new buzz words and phrases include: the ‘‘managerial’’ arbitrator, discovery ‘‘tutorials,’’ expert ‘‘hot-tubbing,’’ and witness Skyping. And all of this is made possible through the broader and more creative use of stipulations.

Commercial arbitration today is a different creature than its historical ancestor. And it presents new opportunities and risks for lawyers and clients. One thing is clear: our collective satisfaction with the new process will hinge on our ability to use these new tools effectively.

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