Commercial Arbitration

Section 1, Fall 18

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 19/20
Credits: 3

Course Description

This course delivers an understanding of commercial arbitration by approaching it in three ways: the practical steps to putting on, winning, and enforcing an arbitration; a case-oriented approach to how courts approach arbitration; and a public policy approach that examines arbitration's impact on access to justice. Because of the pro-arbitration tide of the last generation, many disputes that used to end up in court instead are heard exclusively in private arbitration. From consumer contracts for your cell phone to international corporate transactions, from suits against a stock broker to professional sports agreements, parties agree – often without knowing – to give up their rights to a judge and jury and instead submit their dispute to the arbitration process. An understanding of arbitration is therefore essential to developing a full set of litigation and dispute resolution skills – and to defeating those you may face who do not have this understanding. This course delivers that understanding from three distinct perspectives. First, from a clinical standpoint, we will learn: • how to create the arbitration and draft the arbitration clause • how to enforce the arbitration clause, focusing on how courts decide whether or not the dispute belongs in arbitration versus court (versus mediation) • how to maximize your client’s advantage at a case scheduling conference when you get to build your own schedule • how to pick a good arbitrator – and strike a bad one • how to obtain discovery in arbitration, and how it differs from court discovery • how to present witness testimony in arbitration • how to enforce the arbitration award – getting paid. We will reinforce those clinical lessons with real life experiences from practice and with specific in-class clinical exercises and mock disputes where the class will be divided into teams that will perform and argue specific arbitration issues, many of which come from my practice. Second, from a case standpoint we will examine the law of arbitration and its development in the courts. The inherent conflict in arbitration law is that by definition, arbitration’s advantage is its avoidance of court, yet the past decade has seen an explosion of judicial decisions about arbitration procedure and enforcement. This course will look at those cases, with particular emphasis on the clinical points we will study as to how to design, run, win and enforce an arbitration award. Third, we will focus on public policy. Consumers now sign agreements that both foreclose them from court and foreclose them from class actions in arbitration. This is a debate being fought out in the courts and the federal agencies, and remains very much in the balance.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: A final research paper will be due via EXPO no later than noon (EST) on the last day of the Fall examination period. NOTE: The paper does not satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement unless a student (who has completed the Skills Requirement at the time of the course) timely submits a completed Writing Requirement Intent Form to the Student Records Office - retroactive exceptions will not be granted. Students who have not yet satisfied the Skills Requirement cannot petition for the paper to satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: (Contracts (6002)) AND (Civil Procedure (6000)) Because the credits in this course count toward the JD Program Professional Skills requirement, JD candidates will be given enrollment priority for this class. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Notes: Class participation will be weighted heavily.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Concentrations: Litigation and Procedure
Public Syllabus Link: None
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Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: