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"Should I select an active trial lawyer to be my arbitrator?"

Maybe.  Certainly trial lawyers can have the subject matter and analytical skills required to serve as effective arbitrators.  But you may want to consider what they do not have - control over their calendar.  If you select a trial lawyer, be prepared to deal with the possibility of  a continuance of your arbitration.  If the Court schedule requires that lawyer to be present there, he or she can not be at your arbitration.  And if the conflict arises late, you may have to wait months to get the arbitration rescheduled.  Some of the best arbitrators I know are active trial lawyers, rather than full-time neutrals.  If you select one, just be prepared to deal with delays when things beyond their control force them to be elsewhere.

Richard Lord
Shareholder
Upchurch Watson White & Max
August, 2011

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