Q.Must I have a lawyer represent me in arbitration or mediation?
A: It is not required, however it is preferable. If one party is represented by an attorney, I definitely recommend all parties have representation.
Q.Must my representative be a lawyer?
A: Not under most arbitration or mediation rules. Some state bar associations do consider representing parties in an ADR proceeding to be the practice of law, however, and in those states your representative must be a licensed attorney.
Q.I have a small case that does not justify hiring a lawyer. How do I figure out the rules?
A: If you file your case with one of the well known ADR services such as the American Arbitration Association or the National Association of Securities Dealers Dispute Resolution, check their web site. Most established providers post their rules on the World Wide Web. For example, the American Arbitration Associations site is WWW.ADR.ORG.
Q.What can an arbitrator or mediator do to help me with my case?
A: The arbitrator or mediator must be neutral throughout the progress of the case. As a neutral, an arbitrator or mediator cannot help you with planning, preparation, your presentation of the case or other similar matters. On the other hand, neutrals have a duty to insure that all parties receive a fair and neutral hearing, and generally will not let a lawyer run roughshod over an un-represented party.
Q.Can I get a neutral that is an expert in the subject matter of my case?
A: Absolutely. Many of the major ADR providers maintain lists of arbitrators or mediators with expertise in certain areas. You may want your neutral to have knowledge of construction, patents, franchising, or any other field. Ask for the expertise you need in the claim form when you file your case.