Only about 7,300 arbitrators are employed in the United States. They work for (or are affiliated with) court systems, law firms, labor relations boards, government agencies, or professional associations. Some operate their own arbitration firms.
Most aspiring arbitrators have worked at least three years—but often longer—in their chosen industry (law, business, etc.) before trying to enter the field. Entry requirements vary for each employer and industry. A typical entry path might involve completing a training program offered by an association, government agency, or other entity; receiving a certificate or other credential for completing the training and meeting other requirements; and then applying to become an arbitrator. An example of such a process can be found at FINRA’s Web site (https://www.finra.org/arbitration-mediation/arbitrator-training). Some professional associations—such as the American Arbitration Association—maintain rosters of arbitrators that they make available to parties that are seeking arbitration services. Arbitrators on the association’s roster have been recommended by leaders in various industries.
Work in arbitration can sometimes be a full-time job, but others choose to work as arbitrators as a second career (for example, a lawyer might also serve as an arbitrator) or as a post-retirement career for retired lawyers, judges, executives, and other professionals. As a result, there are few opportunities for advancement. With that said, an arbitrator might advance by opening his or her own arbitration firm or by becoming a college professor who educates students about arbitration and other methods of conflict resolution.
Tips for Entry
Visit https://www.adr.org/Careers and https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/search/?keywords=arbitrators for job listings.
As a student, gain experience by volunteering or completing an internship at a company, association, or organization that provides arbitration services.
Read The Resolver and Arbitration: The Journal of International Arbitration, Mediation, and Dispute Management to learn more about the field. Visit https://www.ciarb.org/resources/publications for more information.