ADR Tip of the Month - February 2016

February ADR Tip of the Month 

These practice tips are drawn from the MSBA ADR Section's February 9, 2016, CLE:  "How to Become an Effective Arbitrator and Write Bullet-Proof Awards," by Lynn Noland, Senior Supervisory Attorney, American Family Insurance; Krista Peach, American Arbitration Director of Operations Minneapolis; and Maureen Slater, Better Business Bureau, Community Mediation Center Manager. 

American Arbitration Association

  • In 2015, MN AAA arbitrators conducted 91 business contract arbitrations, 37 consumer and employment arbitrations, 4 labor union/management arbitrations, and 7,010 MN No-Fault Insurance arbitrations.  Each type of arbitration has its own panel of arbitrators with unique qualification criteria. 
  • To learn more about becoming an AAA arbitrator (or mediator), click here. 

Better Business Bureau

  • BBB uses volunteer arbitrators for post-dispute binding arbitration, pre-dispute binding arbitration (contract clause), conditionally binding arbitration for its Autoline Lemon Law arbitrations.  BBB pays a $100 stipend to arbitrators for the Autoline arbitrations. 
  • To learn more about becoming a BBB arbitrator (or mediator), send email to 

Bullet-proof your Arbitration Award

  • Make sure the parties agree on the "ground rules" for the arbitration 
  • Over-disclose (disclose any conflict or potential conflict that would give the appearance of possible bias)
  • Avoid ex parte communications / contact with the parties and attorneys 
  • Issue a timely award 
  • Conduct the hearing in a fair, neutral, and professional manner 

Compiled by Linda Mealey-Lohmann, Past Chair MSBA ADR Section