September 12, 2019 Dispute Resolution Magazine

Dispute Resolution Bookshelf

Arbitrating Commercial Disputes in the United States

Edited By David Singer Reviewed by Sunu Pillai

Arbitrating Commercial Disputes in the United States is an excellent resource for counsel representing clients in arbitration. With one chapter dedicated to each stage of the arbitration process, the book includes practical, actionable information, and is a valuable resource for both new and experienced counsel. 

Most of the book’s 15 chapters are less than 20 pages, long enough to include all the relevant information but short enough to be accessible to even the busiest practitioner. Each chapter contains comprehensive citations not only to case law but also to articles and relevant arbitral institution rules. The chapter on commencing an arbitration, for example, discusses the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act (RUAA) as well as applicable rules from the American Arbitration Association (AAA), JAMS, and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) and case law regarding service and content of arbitration demands – all of which add up to a comprehensive resource that provide avenues for further research.

The practical advice in Arbitrating Commercial Disputes in the United States, which was edited by longtime New York-based arbitrator and mediator David Singer, is the kind that can only come from experienced practitioners. The chapter titled “Selecting the Arbitrators,” to mention just one example, discusses selection criteria such as industry expertise, personality, availability, and arbitration skills. It discusses often-overlooked factors, including interpersonal dynamics within an arbitral panel and the arbitrator’s proficiency in conducting arbitrations under the selected rules.

Both new and experienced counsel will find this book useful. The chapter on the preliminary conference, for example, provides a checklist for issues that might be discussed and refers the reader to other lists from various arbitral institutions, which should be of particular interest to newer practitioners, while the chapter on privacy and confidentiality discusses the difference between the two concepts as well as special considerations in the often-complicated, sophisticated arena of patent arbitrations.

Singer’s work is comprehensive, and yet I would like to see future editions include chapters on conducting arbitrations in the United States under international rules, using best practices from the international arena that could be incorporated into domestic arbitrations, and drafting the arbitration clause.

This edition is well worth investigating. Whether you’re new to arbitration, an experienced practitioner, or just someone looking for a readable, comprehensive resource, give this book a look.

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Sunu Pillai

Sunu Pillai is an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association and focuses his practice on construction law at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Pillai is a member of the Dispute Resolution Magazine editorial board. He can be reached at