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What Is an Arbitrator and How to Become One


What Is an Arbitrator?

An arbitrator helps settle legal disputes between two parties outside of court. As an arbitrator, you oversee the mediation process. Your typical job duties include conducting interviews, gathering and reviewing evidence, and making a final, legally binding decision. Other responsibilities involve coordinating meetings between the two parties and drawing up legal contracts in line with the resolution. Many arbitrators are lawyers; those who are not attorneys must have extensive knowledge of all relevant laws and policies.

How to Become an Arbitrator

The minimum qualifications needed to become an arbitrator are a bachelor’s degree and ten years of professional experience in your field. While a few states require arbitrators to have a background in law, the American Arbitration Association does not. Typical fields include accounting, healthcare, and business, as these all deal with complex laws and regulations relevant to the legal process. Most arbitrators have a law degree and have been practicing attorneys for at least a decade. Additional qualifications include strong communication skills and obtaining licensing within your state.

Are Arbitrators Lawyers?

Not all arbitrators are lawyers. Completing law school is not a career requirement, especially for those working in business arbitration. Thorough knowledge of the legal process helps arbitrators make decisions and develop effective resolutions. At the very least, you need formal training in the arbitration process and specific experience with the subject of the dispute. However, many employers do prefer candidates with a law degree. Arbitrators that are also lawyers typically have the best job prospects and make a higher annual salary.