Arbitration: The Strategic Avenue in Business Dispute Resolution

Business Insights

Arbitration: The Strategic Avenue in Business Dispute Resolution

Apr 22, 2024 | Business Insights

At Bean, Kinney & Korman, my experience as a litigator has provided me with countless opportunities to observe the transformative power of arbitration in resolving disputes outside the traditional court system. Arbitration is a strategic choice for businesses. Arbitration comes in a variety of forms, each designed to cater to the specific needs and circumstances of the disputing parties. Let’s take a closer look at the diverse types of arbitration that businesses can leverage:

Commercial Arbitration: The Business World’s Solution to Court

Commercial arbitration is the quintessential forum for business disputes, prized for its adaptability to the complex and evolving nature of commercial relationships. It allows for a process that can be as streamlined or as comprehensive as the parties’ desire, enabling a resolution that reflects the realities of business operations.

Commercial arbitration clauses can be crafted to address virtually any type of business disagreement, from breaches of contract to intellectual property disputes, to disagreements over mergers and acquisitions. The key advantage here is that parties can pre-select arbitrators with the right mix of legal acumen and industry-specific knowledge, ensuring that the decision-makers understand the context of the dispute fully.

International Arbitration: The Cross-Border Dispute Navigator

International arbitration stands as a beacon for businesses navigating the murky waters of cross-border commerce. It’s the preferred mode of resolution for parties from different jurisdictions, as it provides a neutral forum that mitigates national biases and the unpredictability of foreign legal systems. By utilizing international arbitration, businesses can have greater confidence in a level playing field, where decisions are rendered by arbitrators who are versed in international laws and customs and who operate under globally recognized rules and procedures.

This type of arbitration is particularly sensitive to the cultural and legal nuances that are inherent in international business transactions. With its own set of sophisticated rules and conventions, such as those provided by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law, international arbitration offers a bespoke solution that domestic courts rarely provide.

Employment Arbitration: Resolving Workplace Conflicts with Discretion

Employment arbitration is a growing trend, particularly in the United States, where it often serves as the first line of defense in resolving disputes between employers and employees. Mostly, it is a very strategic tool for employers. It’s an avenue that can be made compulsory through employment contracts, thus steering employment disputes away from public courts. In industries where confidentiality and speed are prized, and where disputes can range from compensation issues to compliance with employment regulations, arbitration offers a resolution process that respects the privacy of the parties and addresses the particularities of the employment relationship.

By exploring the nuances of these various types of arbitration, businesses can better appreciate the versatility and value of this method of dispute resolution. As a litigator, my role is to ensure that the arbitration process is understood and appreciated by my clients, not just as a fallback but as a strategic asset in their legal toolkit.

Selecting the Ideal Venue

The venue for arbitration is much more than a backdrop; it is a critical choice that can define the process. Reputable institutions such as the American Arbitration Association (AAA), JAMS, and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) are often at the forefront, providing established rules and experienced administrative support. However, there are local dispute resolution agencies that offer arbitration as well such as the McCammon Group here in Virginia.

Crafting Arbitration Clauses with Foresight

Embedding an arbitration clause into contracts is a strategic maneuver that requires thoughtful consideration:

Precision and Detail: The arbitration clause must be a beacon of clarity, unambiguously outlining the intent to arbitrate, the scope of disputes covered, and the governing rules. This precision at the outset can forestall additional disputes over procedural ambiguities.

Expertise of Arbitrators: The arbitrator’s expertise can be pivotal. For nuanced or sector-specific disputes, an arbitrator with relevant experience can discern the intricacies of the matter, leading to a more informed and appropriate outcome.

Cost Considerations: Arbitration is normally just as expensive as traditional litigation, but that is not a reason to not consider it. It’s important to recognize that it can also be an investment. Arbitrator fees are the biggest difference than court costs—as a party needs to pay for an adjudicator as compared to the “free” cost of a judge in court. Direct costs, such as arbitrator fees and venue expenses, must be weighed against the indirect benefits of a potentially quicker and more business-friendly process.

Confidentiality: The private nature of arbitration is one of its most compelling features for businesses. This ensures sensitive information remains shielded from the public eye, a consideration of paramount importance in a world where data is as valuable as currency.

A Positive, Professional Embrace of Arbitration

From a professional standpoint, arbitration is not merely an alternative to litigation; it is a reflection of a business’s strategic approach to dispute resolution. It signifies a forward-thinking mindset that values decisiveness and discretion. When businesses choose arbitration, they are not shirking from conflict but embracing a resolution process that aligns with their business operations and values.

In summation, arbitration, when well-conceived and correctly implemented, is a powerful tool that aligns with the business ethos of control, efficiency, and privacy. As legal professionals, we play a crucial role in ensuring that the arbitration framework within contracts is robust, serving the interests of all parties and upholding the integrity of the process.

If you have questions or need any assistance concerning guidance around ADR, please contact Allison Riddle at (703) 525-4000 or

This article is for informational purposes only and does not contain or convey legal advice. Consult a lawyer. Any views or opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily the views of any client.


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