Published: April 2015
Today, arbitration enjoys wide and increasing use as a method of resolving international disputes between corporations, nation-states, and individuals. It remains an important alternative to litigation of domestic business disputes in the United States and other countries and is the primary method of adjudicating international commercial disputes.
Moreover, growing numbers are seeking to promote themselves as advocates specializing in arbitration or as “professional” arbitrators. In the U.S., the paradigm of the commercial arbitrator has evolved from an occasional volunteer activity into a full-time or part-time occupation. The growth of professionalism is also reflected in the establishment of organizations such as the College of Commercial Arbitrators (“CCA”), founded in 2001, which is now comprised of many of the most experienced arbitrators in the United States.
Similar developments are being observed worldwide. In a recent address, the Chief Justice of Singapore noted the “explosive growth in the number of new entrants to the global arbitration community, many from diverse legal traditions.”
This rapidly expanding community is feeding the development of, and being fed by, a bewildering array of professional conferences and symposia, new academic programs offering opportunities for in-depth study, and burgeoning international moots. Through listservs and blogs, growing thousands communicate online, en masse, on a daily basis, sharing perspectives on diverse issues of arbitration law and practice. These latter platforms avail every selfstyled arbitrator or arbitration practitioner of a never-ending stream of information and free-flowing commentary, as well as a wide-open platform for personal expression.
*William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution and Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law; Academic Director, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. Thanks to the College of Commercial Arbitrators and members of its executive Committee (Tyrone Holt, Edna Sussman and Eugene Farber) for their support in making possible the College of Commercial Arbitrators – Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution Survey on Arbitration Practice (2013), including a related grant. Thanks also to Tiffani Willis, Research Librarian, Pepperdine University School of Law and Hao Wu, Pepperdine School of Law LL.M. in International Commercial Arbitration, 2014 for their research efforts.
**Research Fellow, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine School of Law. B.A., B.S. (2007) American University, Washington, D.C.; J.D., M.A. Clinical Psychology, Master of Dispute Resolution (2013) Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA.