Arbitration or Jury Trial: Which is Best?

2020-02-20T16:25:00-08:00April 16th, 2019|

Any person who signs a contract must first decide which path to take: "arbitration or a jury trial which is best?" Up until about fifteen years ago this was a usually an automatic decision. People wanted their day in court, they wanted a judge to oversee the procedures, and they wanted a jury to hear their case. Then arbitration organizations grew and developed rules that were incorporated into the California and Federal statutes which gave people the same rights in arbitration that they would get in court with the exception of a jury. Additionally, arbitration is a much quicker process, most of the arbitrators are retired judges that know the law, and in days when court proceedings last two years or more, hearings take months to schedule, and jury trials are a gamble there is much to be said for a quick and more efficient arbitration. When drafting contracts or agreements for my clients I always discuss the pros and cons of arbitration versus court. There are many attorneys that, no matter what you say, are consummate believers in court and jury trials. Some, because they can charge more for their work and time spent; some because they believe juries will give larger awards. Those attorneys (myself included) who have actually gone to trial in front of a jury or sat on a jury know that you NEVER know what a jury is going to do; what small fact they will latch onto and what will be the deciding factor for them.