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People who work in a legal or negotiations-based career often find that arbitration training is necessary for career progression. Arbitration training is available from a limited number of post-secondary institutions, usually as a graduate certificate or program. Professional organizations are a much better resource for this type of training because of the highly focused population.
The purpose of arbitrator training is to improve negotiation and mediation outcomes through the application of specific techniques. The role of an arbitrator is to resolve conflicts that have reached an impasse. In many cases, the issues are related to employment contracts or contract law. The arbitration process is used to avoid lengthly legal cases, and both sides must agree to follow the arbitrator's ruling.
University law schools typically offer post-graduate certificates in arbitration. In many cases, the certificate is focused on a particular type of law, because of the level of complexity. This type of training is offered evenings and weekends, in order to accommodate people who are working full time in the legal or professional negotiations industries.
Look into the continuing education programs offered through your professional association. This is a great source for arbitration training, because the program will be focused on the specific skills that are required, without repeating material that is common knowledge. An additional benefit of this type of arbitration training is the chance to network with other professionals.
Join an arbitrator network or association as a student member. This will give you access to newsletters and publications that often include training opportunities. Read the course description with care to ensure that you have the background necessary to complete the course successfully. Talk with the career and training advisors in the network to learn what types of programs are the most common.
There are a range of books, journals, seminars and online resources that provide arbitration training. Take the time to research these options and determine how much of your training can be completed independently. These materials can provide a great introduction to this field, but discussion with practicing professionals is often required to understand the context of these theories and concepts.
The Internet is another great source of materials and training. However, always validate the source of the information. For example, an arbitration training program sponsored by a recognized law school has been reviewed for content quality by that school. A course that has no formal associations with a professional association or school should be thoroughly researched before you pay any tuition fees.
@MrMoody - Yes, understanding the law and being impartial are both important. There are many routes for training but I think the training you choose depends on what your ultimate aim is. If you’re working on the legal profession, then I don’t think you should rely on Internet training.
That’s my bias I guess. As a lawyer you are called upon to understand the nuances of the law which can change quickly. You may be called upon to do things like create an arbitration agreement between two disputing parties.
You don’t want to rely on generic training that you get from the Internet. Rather you should insist on courses from your law school. But if you are going to be an arbiter in a workplace setting then I think that you can be more flexible.
If you work in human resources, I think that it’s a given you should have some kind of arbitration. You should understand arbitration law and know how to effectively mediate disputes between employees or employees and management.
Unfortunately I have not always found that human resources is adept at this process as they should be. At one company I worked at I witnessed a dispute that was taken to human resources, and the human resources department unfairly sided with management in my opinion.
Of course I was not party to the meeting but based on close sources that’s what I believe happened. I believe the most important quality for an arbiter in any setting is total impartiality; otherwise you cannot possibly have a fair outcome.
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