The NCAA college basketball tournament is not the only exciting game in town.  The American Arbitration Association (AAA) recently announced a game changer called Arbitrator Select.

Although potential mediators have always been available prior to disputes being filed, the AAA will now assemble potential lists of arbitrators without a case filing or case fee payment.  While it would be nice if this service were free, there is a refund of the case is ultimately filed with the AAA.  The charge for the service is based on the number of names requested.  Under this new Arbitrator Select service, the AAA will also get conflicts run by the potential arbitrators.

Why would this be helpful for the construction lawyer, contractor or developer?  For as long as I have practiced law, arbitration has been touted as "the cheaper, quicker method of dispute resolution."  And for just as long a period of time, there have been critics to that statement.  By allowing parties to begin the selection process on the front end to check the availability of an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators before investing in the process, AAA is cutting some of the time and investment cost.  It will be interesting to get some feedback from those who have used the new service.

You can read more about the Arbitrator Select service in this AAA brochure.

Image: The West End

(Bonus Questions: Who’s in the picture above?)