Arbitration Tips-N-Tools (TNT): Round 15

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

Round 15: Do you see growth in arbitration in the pandemic? Why or why not?


A) Deborah Hylton

  • Clogged courts and the ability to tailor proceedings to needs are drivers of arbitration over litigation.
  • Arbitration providers have been able to adapt more readily than courts to online and can keep the cases moving more readily.

B) Marsha Ternus

  • Yes. Arbitration provides a safe forum to resolve disputes without the delay of waiting for a court date.
  • If the parties take advantage of the opportunities for speedy and more focused discovery and more informal presentation of evidence, costs can be reduced for the litigants.
  • Although the parties will forego a jury trial, they can agree to high/low limits on any award to have more control over the outcome.

C) Michael Pitton

  • There most certainly should be growth as arbitration is poised in a unique way to allow for a presentation that is most closely aligned with a trial, with the benefits of an adversarial proceeding (though informal) while maintaining the advantages of speed, finality and cost effectiveness that are hallmarks of the process.
  • Any litigation attorney is well aware of the delays that have occurred and only seem to be worsening as the backlog grows and prioritization is focused on other case types.
  • A significant variable seems to be the experience of the attorneys in the affected geographic area with arbitration. I see more growth in areas where arbitration is already extensively used, as attorneys who are unfamiliar with the process seem reluctant to engage in this alternative.
  • Some education of attorneys in this situation may help for the most effective utilization of arbitration to reduce delays and streamline the resolution of pending and anticipated disputes

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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