Arbitration Tips-N-Tools (TNT): Round 11

In this round of Arbitration Tips-N-Tools, Professor Amy Schmitz asks some of the leading arbitration practitioners about advice for holding an in-person arbitration while following safe practices, especially in a digital world and faced with the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Round 11: What advice do you have for those who wish to hold an in-person arbitration while following safe practices?


A) Deborah Hylton

  1. Listen to the science—and adopt the protocol sought by the most risk-averse person in the group
  2. Either have reasonable confidence in the parties’ compliance with protocols or move online. The past 2 weeks have brought several horror stories of groups committing to safety protocols, one person breaching, and then a multi-spreader event ensuing
  3. Re-assess the assumptions of why an in-person arbitration is really needed now and be sure the risk/benefit calculus holds up

B) Marsha Ternus

  1. Rethink whether any advantages of an in-person arbitration outweigh the safety and convenience of an online hearing
  2. Confirm that every participant is committed to following safe practices
  3. Be sure that the site for the hearing will provide the space needed for physical separation of the participants

C) Michael Pitton

  1. Do so preferably at the request and definitely with the agreement of the parties as documented in your arbitration agreement, and inquire as to their proposal for a safe forum
  2. Research and then address protocol requirements in the prehearing conference and order
  3. Maintain vigilance from entry into the building and room, throughout the hearing, and until the exit of parties and witnesses from the building to enhance the safety of all participants

Deborah Hylton

Deborah is an experienced arbitrator, mediator and conflict engagement specialist with practical business experience, legal skills and financial acumen. She is also has served as transactional lawyer, CEO, board chair, board member, restructuring officer and corporate governance expert. She is a problem-solver by nature and practice. Her background offers a…


Marsha Ternus

Background and Education. Marsha Ternus is a native of Iowa, growing up on a farm in northern Benton County. She received her bachelor’s degree with honors and high distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Iowa in 1972. She earned her law degree with honors, Order of the Coif,…


Michael Pitton

Michael Pitton has been an experienced arbitrator since 1997, is AV-rated, admitted to practice in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, and is included in the nationwide Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He has also been a member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Iowa College of Law for more…


Amy Schmitz

Professor Amy Schmitz is the John Deaver Drinko-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. From 2016-2021 Professor Schmitz was the Elwood L. Thomas Missouri Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law and the Center for Dispute Resolution.…

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