By ONI Oluwatoyin Bamidele

With the recent trend and advancement in both international and domestic Arbitration and ADR practices, engagement opportunities for both lawyers and other professionals abound continually due to the inevitability of conflicts in human relations and the need for conflict resolution specialists across all sectors either as full time or as additional career. While litigation is wholly the lawyers field, arbitration and ADR is arms wide-open to both lawyers and non-lawyers. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA) does not provide that only lawyers can become arbitrators but rather lays emphasis on the impartiality and independence of the arbitrators.

According to Greenwood and Baker, becoming an Arbitrator is generally an ancillary career which is usually concurrent with or subsequent to other professional service. In other words, most arbitrators and potential Arbitrators are professionals in various field and different backgrounds like law, engineering, business executives, academics, retired judges, accountants as so on.

There are Plethora of opportunities for professionals who have chosen Arbitration and ADR an additional career, these opportunities include working for an ADR provider organization in a support capacity, working for a corporate organization in the employee relations or human relations capacity, engaging in private practice as an Arbitrator or ADR specialist, working as an associate in law firms that specializes in ADR  and arbitration, working as neutrals in court-connected ADR centers like the Lagos Multi door Court house, and working for labour unions among others.

It is necessary to state that there are certain technical and complicated transaction and disputes that requires the appointment of professionals who are experienced in that field and as a result, professionals who have considered Arbitration as a second career are best suited for this role.

As an additional career, the arbitrators usually work full-time in their primary place of assignment while they also pick-up arbitration roles and ad-hoc appointments elsewhere. Furthermore, technical and complex disputes are best settled when handled by professional who have expertise and high level of direct experience in the subject-matter. Since these arbitrators have direct experience in the subject matter of the dispute, the need for expert witnesses in the arbitration may no longer be necessary therefore cutting cost and saving time as there would be no need to bring the arbitrator(s) up to speed.

There are enormous opportunities for professionals in the Arbitration industry, professionals do not have to wait until their retirement before taking the decision of adopting Arbitration and ADR as an additional career, the steps must be taken now by acquiring necessary knowledge and skills required to becoming a professional arbitrator or other ADR specialist. Such skills and trainings can be acquired from various respected institutes such as the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators.

Written by ONI Oluwatoyin Bamidele (Jurist O’toyin), onioluwatoyinbamidele@gmail.com

References:

  1. Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Cap A18, LFN 2004
  2. Lucy Greenwood & C. Mark Baker, Getting a better balance on International Arbitration Tribunals, 28 (2012) Arbitration International, No. 4, 653-667 at 659
  • Deborah Masucci, ‘so you want to become a Mediator or Arbitrator: A guide to starting a New ADR practice and giving your existing practice a boost- for the New York state lawyers,’

(The New York State Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section, New York, 2019) p.3

  1. Prof. Olubayo Oluduro, PhD (Ghent), FCArb. & Akin Olawale Oluwadayisi, Ph.D. (Ilorin) (2021) Journal on Arbitration volume 16 Number 1 ISSN: 2021-957x pp. 1-165
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