Commercial arbitration began as an economical and fair alternative to court trials. Critics claim that is has become increasingly lengthy, expensive an more like litigation. Many arbitrators, ADR providers and counsel are working to manage the process and restore the advantages of arbitration: limited discovery, efficient hearings and the prompt issuance of a final award. Ideally, this effort starts at the preliminary conference, which is a good time to collaborate with the arbitrators and design a process that fits the case.
In a recent international arbitration involving millions of dollars is claimed damages, the attorneys worked with the arbitrators to manage the process and obtain the best possible result while keeping costs to a minimum. This complex case arose out of a stock purchase agreement under which a foreign company purchased a U.S. company. The sellers' claims included breach of the agreement by the purchasers, which allegedly resulted in their loss of the business and related IP. The participants managed the case, starting with agreements they reached at the preliminary conference call with the arbitrators. What could have taken at least a month trail was reduced to a week of arbitration hearing plus a day of closing arguments.
Originally published in The Daily Journal on July 26, 2013.
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