Arbitration is a process of private dispute resolution (ADR) where a neutral third-party (arbitrator) is hired to assist parties in resolving a conflict.  In arbitration, the arbitrator selected by the parties is hired to make a decision and that decision is generally binding and enforceable in court just like a jury or court verdict.  Essentially, an arbitrator is a private judge and the arbitration process is similar to a streamlined bench trial. Parties present their case to a single arbitrator or panel of three arbitrators. Parties may introduce written documentation such as expert reports, medical records, witness statements, etc… in lieu of live testimony. Hearings generally take place in a conference room, but some arbitrations are conducted telephonically or via document submissions only. The relaxation of the civil rules of evidence and setting generally make the arbitration process more informal, cost-effective and efficient than court. After hearing the parties’ arguments and the presentation of the evidence, the arbitrator(s) render a decision. Arbitration awards are enforced in the same manner that a civil court judgment is enforceable. The finality of a binding arbitration award makes this an attractive option to parties who want a final resolution of their dispute.

Many consumer, employment and business contracts contain clauses that require the parties to resolve any differences through arbitration instead of in court.

Patrick Burns is an experienced arbitrator and he also appears as an advocate for clients in arbitration.  Patrick is a past chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s 400 member ADR Section and Chair of the Hennepin County Fee Arbitration Committee. He serves on the ValueSolve, American Arbitration Association (AAA) and National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS) panels of arbitrators.  Patrick spent three years as an executive with the American Arbitration Association in Minneapolis before returning to private practice. 

He has received advanced training in ADR through the Pepperdine School of Law Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in California.  The Straus Institute is considered the premier training ground for ADR professionals in the country.