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Arbitration Attorney: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an arbitration attorney. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job duties and other requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

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Arbitration refers to a meeting that is held for disputing parties to present their case, and arbitration attorneys represent one of the disputing parties or oversee these out-of-court proceedings. Arbitration attorneys can work in-house for a corporation, or on their own representing multiple clients.

Essential Information

An arbitration attorney can either represent clients or act as the presiding authority in a proceeding known as arbitration. These proceedings are out-of-court meetings where disputing parties can present their case and make arguments. The decision of the presiding authority, who does not necessarily need to be an attorney, is typically binding on all parties.

Career Attorneys Arbitrators, Mediators and Conciliators
Education Requirements Juris Doctor Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% 9%
Average Salary (2015)* $136,260 $69,060

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Arbitration Attorney Job Description

Arbitration attorneys work on behalf of their client to convince the presiding authority during an arbitration that their client should win his or her argument. Winning may mean receiving a sum of money or not having to pay any money to the other party. If an arbitration attorney is acting as the presiding authority, he or she must listen to the arguments made by both sides, review the evidence and then determine which party should win.

Attending arbitration is not mandatory, unless the parties previously agreed to attend if a dispute arose between them. Therefore, many attorneys do not specialize solely in arbitration, because there might not be enough work in the field. Most arbitration attorneys are technically litigators who have enough trial experience to be competent in handling an arbitration.

Many arbitration proceedings are over labor-related disputes. Companies that require disputes to be arbitrated may hire an attorney to handle all of their legal issues, including arbitration. These attorneys are known as in-house attorneys, because they work in their client's place of business and only for the client. However, because they perform other tasks beyond simply arbitrating cases, these professionals are not specifically known as arbitration attorneys.

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Duties of an Arbitration Attorney

Regardless of whether the arbitration attorney works in-house or for multiple clients, his or her duties are to gather evidence, prepare statements and make arguments to the presiding authority about why his or her client should win. Most times, testimonies from witnesses are not allowed in an arbitration proceeding. This means that the majority of an arbitration attorney's job duties involve gathering evidence.

To prepare the evidence, the attorney collects and reviews documents, interviews witnesses, creates visual aids and drafts legal pleadings. Attorneys may perform this work on their own or with a group of other attorneys. During the arbitration, the attorney must make arguments to the presiding authority and provide the authority with evidence or documents to support his or her arguments. Unlike a court trial, the attorney is usually not permitted to interview the other party or dispute their evidence, so there are no back-and-forth arguments during the proceeding.

An attorney who is acting as the presiding authority does not gather evidence. In fact, he or she does not need to prepare for the arbitration. During the proceeding, these attorneys listen to the arguments, receive any evidence presented to them, review these resources and then make a decision. Sometimes, the presiding authority will make a decision immediately at the end of the proceeding, but other times he or she may need a few days to review all of the evidence.

Salary of an Arbitration Attorney

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), arbitrators, mediators and conciliators earned a mean annual wage of $69,060 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Arbitration attorneys' salaries can also be grouped with those of a typical attorney. The BLS reported that attorneys made an average salary of $136,260 per year.

Arbitration attorneys gather evidence, prepare statements and make arguments, while arbitrators oversee proceedings and render decisions. An arbitration attorney must have a Juris Doctor degree and their state law license, while arbitrators are required to have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Job growth for arbitrators is predicted to grow faster than average through the year 2024, while attorneys can expect average growth during that same period.

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