Arbitration Tips-N-Tools (TNT): Round 12

In this round of Arbitration Tips-N-Tools, Professor Amy Schmitz asks some of the leading arbitration practitioners about hiring a third party to assist with virtual hearings, especially in a digital world and faced with the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Round 12: When do you think it is wise to hire a third party to assist with virtual hearings – 3 indicia?


A) Deborah Hylton

  1. Sole arbitrator is the key test. When I’m a sole arbitrator, I advise the parties as soon as videoconference hearings are raised that a tech advisor is required. The parties deserve my full attention on the case and deserve a decided trouble-shooter if issues arise.
  2. In an arbitration with numerous nonparty witnesses coming and going and privacy of non-party witness testifying, having someone other than the arbitrator handling the tech is key. Even in courthouses, there are bailiffs!
  3. One counsel can provide tech support in the absence of the other party’s objection. It’s tech support without third-party expense.

B) Marsha Ternus

  1. Arbitrator and attorneys are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the technology to be used for hearing
  2. Attorneys unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the technology will be using multiple documents when questioning witnesses
  3. Complexity due to multiple parties and attorneys or large number of exhibits that will be used at hearing

C) Michael Pitton

  1. Hearings that involve several exhibits and require extensive testimony as to pertinent documents
  2. Proceedings when a record will be made
  3. Hearings with numerous witnesses, particularly those in different locations

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,…


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…


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 joined the University of Missouri School of Law and the Center for Dispute Resolution as the Elwood L. Thomas Missouri Endowed Professor of Law in 2016. Previously she was a Professor at the University of Colorado School of Law for over 16 years. Prior to teaching, Professor…

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