A Judge becomes an Arbitrator & Mediator – It’s not as easy as it may seem


From Judge to Mediator and Arbitrator: Insight that demonstrates the importance of what FairClaims can offer you!

In a recent article from the New York Law Journal, a former Judge reflects on her past duties and how it molded her to become a great Arbitrator and Mediator.

Helen Freedman served on the New York state bench for 36 years and thought that neutrality would come easily and that it would be a seamless transition into becoming an Arbitrator and Mediator. She soon found obstacles that confirmed the clear difference between the two worlds.

When it comes to Arbitration the process must be fast, efficient and less costly than litigation.

With litigation comes many summary judgments, discovery requests, issues regarding electronic discovery and so on; which could easily lead to a 10-month preparation for a single hearing. The Judge must rule on certain requests and summary judgments before a trial, which by law could not be prohibited.

It is quite the opposite when this Judge moved into Arbitration. Any summary judgments or requests require the permission of the Arbitrator or agreement of the parties to be thoroughly reviewed and heard. With Arbitration, there is no jury and pre-hearing decisions are less important, the process can move along as intended, quickly.

The process is much of what FairClaims offers, a quick and smooth process. There will always be the discovery of evidence (both sides can see each other’s evidence before the Hearing), the Arbitrator will not make a decision before hearing all that is presented and the outcome is completely and 100% neutral. You get all of this while sitting in the comfort of your own home!

As a Judge, it is strongly suggested that both sides settle before trial. This is not an allowance made to Arbitrators; the suggestion of settlement during a Hearing can qualify as bias and disqualify the Arbitrator entirely. The only exception to this is if the parties ask the Arbitrator to get involved. FairClaims offers the parties an outlet (a settlement chat feature) to talk this over and come to an agreement up until the service of the award. This essentially allows for outside Mediation during the Arbitration if the parties choose to partake.

Mediation

This brings up Mediation, as a Judge there is little to no conversation throughout the litigation process. There is simply no time to sit with attorneys to resolve the issue amicably, prior to a trial. Resolution often comes only after the discovery of evidence has occurred and motions are heard, making the process much longer than it needs to be.

Mediation will normally take place before a lawsuit is even filed. It is great to see Mediation happen because it shows that the parties are dedicated to finding a resolution outside of litigation. This is an intentional action to forego the costs and excessive timeframe of the litigation process.

Mediation is always confidential and the parties are usually brought together to find a common-ground or amicable resolution. If the parties come together, this will reduce the chance of instead proceeding with litigation. The first step for this judge is to facilitate and then evaluate. As stated in the article – “As a former judge, it is tempting to be evaluative early on and raise all the risks of litigation, but that is not how mediation works. The parties must actively participate in the process before the mediator uses evaluative techniques to bring them to what we call “Yes.”

Here at FairClaims, we believe we provide the best of both worlds. Both worlds being Arbitration and Mediation, because if you can help it, who wants to even touch litigation? We stick to the foundation that everyone cares about: ease of use, cost-efficiency, accuracy, and swiftness.

If you would like to see if FairClaims could help your company, please email us at help@fairclaims.com