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May 18, 2022

Getting the Best Results in an ADR Process

March 6, 2013

How do you get the best results for your client in an ADR process?

Having spent the better part of last year involved in a number of commercial arbitration hearings both as a litigator and as an AAA commercial arbitrator, I offer my favorite practical tips for handling the evidence in your client’s arbitration effectively:


•Provide the arbitrators with a prehearing submission that includes your top 20 documents so they have easy reference to key documents.

•Copy all of your exhibits double-sided. This will reduce the number of exhibit binders, make your presentation smoother, and reduce the time and sheer physical challenge of moving from binder to binder for you, the witness, and the arbitrators.

•Commercial arbitration documents and emails are long; consider pre-highlighting relevant portions to focus attention. Also, consider whether an electronic presentation may speed up arbitration time by presenting document images with highlighted portions on a screen. (Be mindful, however, that electronic presentations are not a substitute for the exhibit binders that many arbitrators prefer.)

•Give the arbitrators flash drives containing your exhibits and exhibit list, which can be updated as needed. Not every arbitrator wants or has room for all of your binders back in her office.

•Buy an inexpensive bookshelf to use at the arbitration. Having your exhibit binders organized and placed on shelves right behind you, instead of piling them on boxes, will be a godsend.


Loretta Gastwirth is a partner at Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP in Mineola, New York, and an arbitrator on the American Arbitration Association’s Commercial Arbitration Panel.

In defending client employers against charges of discrimination before the EEOC, I often recommend participating in the EEOC’s free mediation program. At this very early stage of the administrative review process, my client and I obtain a preview of the charging party’s evidence, including surprise evidence like a recording, a good sense about the seriousness of the charge, and whether the charging party is represented by counsel. Early EEOC mediation is also helpful in situations where the charging party is a current employee and there are ongoing performance or communication concerns, which could be alleged as retaliatory if addressed through the normal HR channels. Even if no settlement is reached, the mediation session often provides information helpful in developing our strategy in responding to the charge and defending any resulting litigation, and at very little cost to the client.


Windy Cockrell Bitzer is a member of Hand Arendall LLC in Mobile, Alabama.

March 6, 2013