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Preferred Process for Chair Selection - What are your thoughts?

In an institutional arbitration with three presiding arbitrators, should there be a preferred process for Chair selection (e.g. institution decides; arbitrators decide; default to highest ranked arbitrator; default to judge, if present)?

Please provide your thoughts/comments below.

Comments (11)

Thomas Decker:

I would either let the institution or the 3 arbitrators decide. That has worked the best in the cases in which I have been involved.

Thomas J Mitchell:

The panel of 3 arbitrators should decide who should serve as the chair. If the panel is unable to decide, then the AAA should name the chair.

Perry Dean Freedman:

I suggest that the 3 arbitrators should decide. In my experience, the best leader is the one who wants the responsibility of leading. If the institution chooses, it fails to account for the desire to lead. If left to the panel, the leader will emerge.

If the co-arbitrators are appointed first, it makes sense for the two of them to choose the chair. If all three arbitrators are to selected at the same time, then that method would fail and either the parties could agree on the tribunal or the institution can appoint.

David Blair:

I agree with Mr. Freedman.
Usually there is a person who wants to be lead dog.
It's (usually) better (for everyone) to satisfy this desire, not frustrate it.

In the majority of cases I have seen the agreement calls for each side to appoint their arbitrator and then the two select the Chair. This works well as the person appointed Chair is someone who the two sides have presumably agreed can work effectively with them. In cases where the institution is appointing all the arbitrators it would be a good idea to appoint two, in the first instance and then give the two lists, and a time period to select the Chair. That way the Chair will have the support of the two wings and it will result in a more amicable process


I would let the parties decide, then default to AAA. I believe the arbitrator should have attended the AAA panel chair course.

ADR is about empowering the parties to resolve disputes on their own terms. Unless their agreement stipulates otherwise, the parties should choose the chair. If they are unable to do so, then the choice should default to AAA or whatever forum is sponsoring the arbitrators.

Robert E. Barras:

I follow the round table discussions regularly and agree with one or more responses. On the subject presented here I see many good ideas. In my case, an architect and construction neutral, I yield to the legal minds for chair selection.

Stephen A. Hochman:

I agree with Marvin Schuldiner's solution, which I believe is the same as what Steve Skulnik proposed. However, if the parties can't agree and the selection defaults to the AAA, the AAA should be guided by the highest ranked arbitrator.

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