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What Is Arbitration?

Arbitration is an out-of-court dispute resolution proceeding that serves as an alternative to litigation. Arbitration differs from litigation in a few key respects:

  • In litigation, a judge or jury decides the case. In arbitration, the parties choose an arbitrator to resolve the dispute.
  • Arbitration involves many of the same elements as a court case, but it follows a less formal, more streamlined process. The rules governing arbitration are also different from—and less rigid than—the rules that govern litigation.
  • An arbitrator’s decision is usually binding on the parties and cannot be appealed or reviewed by a court except in limited circumstances.

Potential Challenges of Arbitration for Plaintiffs

Large corporate defendants often prefer arbitration to litigation because consumers and employers are typically required to bring claims individually in arbitration and cannot rely on the efficiencies of class actions the way they can in court. This gives large companies leverage over plaintiffs in several ways:

  • Consumers or employees often have trouble finding a lawyer willing to represent a client with a small or medium-sized claim. 
  • Plaintiffs sometimes are required to pay a filing fee to pursue an arbitration, and that fee can represent a significant percentage of the total value of their claim. 
  • Although arbitration is intended to be simpler and faster than litigation, some defendants use their greater resources to complicate and delay the process.

Arbitration Proceedings We Handle

Many employment and consumer contracts contain provisions that require the parties to resolve any disputes through arbitration. These provisions are rarely negotiable, and plaintiffs may not even be aware of them until a dispute arises. We help our clients level the playing field when contracts written by defendants force them into arbitration.

Our team has successfully represented plaintiffs in complex arbitration proceedings throughout the United States, including:

  • Wage-and-hour disputes
  • Employee misclassification claims
  • Consumer product disputes
  • Other types of contract-related disputes