The Dispute Resolution Section of the New York State Bar Association, under the Chairmanship of David C. Singer, has published a dandy 23-page booklet to introduce lawyers accustomed to the courtroom to the intricacies and nuances of representing a client in arbitration. as the Introduction notes:
It is a common misconception among litigation attorneys that any attorney who has represented a client in court is completely prepared to represent a client in domestic arbitration. [In fact] the differences between these processes are significant, and could easily prove to be traps for the unwary.
Brief and pithy essays are then provided by some of the leading lights of arbitration practice: Peter Michaelson on selecting arbitrators, Paul Bennett Marrow on issues of arbitrability, Barbara Mentz on conducing a preliminary conference, John Wilkinson and discovery, Geri S. Krauss on conducting evidentiary hearings, and so on.
This is exactly the kind of service that a bar association’s ADR section should be rendering to its fellow attorneys. Its brevity is very welcome. Its utility is, as it states, to alert litigators out of their slumber and prompt them to hone skills that are uniquely suited to the curious forum that is private arbitration.
In his book Hooray for Yiddish! Leo Rosten defines a mitzve as a kind, considerate deed that reflects the will of the divine. His illustration is a policeman who, in persuading a despondent man not to drown himself in the Sea of Galilee, pleads with him: “If you jump I will have to go in after you. I can’t swim. I have a wife and two children. Don’t be so selfish! Perform a real mitzve. Go home, and in the peace and comfort of your own home, hang yourself.”
In this spirit I urge upon the reader that buying about 50 copies of this pamphlet and distributing one to every litigator you know would be “a real mitzve.”