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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Arbitration in the United States (Spring 2019)

Course Description

Co-taught with Justin Hoyt  (917) 797-9979;

This course introduces students to the key aspects of the law and practice of (primarily) domestic commercial arbitration. Arbitration has become a common alternative to civil litigation where there is a preexisting contractual relationship and a desire by the parties to control the dispute resolution process if disagreements arise in the course of that relationship.  Among other things, the course considers issues relating to the formation of arbitration agreements and their enforcement; the relationship between parties and arbitral institutions; the arbitration process, including the selection of arbitrators and the conduct of arbitral proceedings; and the relationship between arbitral proceedings and the courts. The consideration of these issues will illuminate the actual practice of commercial arbitration, arbitration procedure and strategy, and the practical benefits (and disadvantages) of arbitration.

Although most arbitration agreements are fully consensual and negotiated at arm’s length, some arbitrations are imposed by one party on the other (commonly in employment, consumer, health care and securities fields).  Policy issues surrounding the use and effectuation of imposed arbitration processes are explored.

The course is designed for 20-30 students so that discussions and exercises can be highly interactive.  Practical aspects of arbitration practice will be illuminated by written and oral exercises simulating various aspects of the arbitration process.  This course is designed to enhance students’ litigation and dispute resolution skills generally and to prepare students for tackling arbitration-related issues in legal practice.

Each student will be able to observe at least one full day of an actual commercial arbitration during the course of the term.  It may also be possible to observe other pre-hearing aspects of an arbitration (e.g., preliminary conferences and motion proceedings).

C. Textbook

Christopher R. Drahozal, Commercial Arbitration: Cases and Problems (LexisNexis) (and Document Supplement) (3d Ed.) (The 2018 online Supplement will be posted to Blackboard prior to Class 1).  Use of Supplement: you should look at it in connection with each class for new notes or comments.  The Course Schedule refers to specifically deleted cases from the Casebook and replacement or additional material from the Supplement.


Time and Place

Tuesdays 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Room: TBD


Credit and Grading

This course will be a 3 unit course lasting one semester. The course will not be offered as C/D/F



Class Recording

Classes will never be recorded, either routinely or upon student request.


Course Objectives

By the conclusion of this course, students will become comfortable with the legal and practical aspects of the arbitration process, as contrasted with litigation in courts; students will also have a command of legal principles that govern the formation and enforceability of agreements to arbitrate and the review and enforcement of arbitration awards.


II.  Course Requirements & Guidelines


Class Preparation and Participation

Class discussion will proceed on the assumption that each student is thoroughly familiar with the assigned materials and is prepared to participate in discussions in a professional manner.  One classroom session is replaced by the requirement that students attend and observe the equivalent of at least one day of an actual commercial arbitration.  See attached tentative case listing.

Attendance and Classroom Behavior

Regular and punctual attendance is expected of all students.  Please note that all communication and entertainment devices such as cell phones, iPods, and iPads are to be turned off and kept off throughout the class session. However, students are permitted to take notes on laptops during the course if computer usage does not hamper attention and participation.

Grading Criteria

There will be weekly written exercises and a final exam.  The final exam will be take-home, open book, and generally consist of short answers to hypothetical problems.  Performance in class, in the written exercises and on the final exam will all be taken into account in determining the final grade. 

All written assignments must be emailed to Mr. Hoyt at no later than the Saturday before the following class session.

General feedback on the weekly written exercises will be provided in class.  Specific feedback will be provided upon request and can be discussed at office hours or pursuant to other arrangement. 






Course Details

  • Unit Value: 3
  • Grading Options: Numerical Only
  • Schedule: T 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
  • Room Number: Room 2
  • Exam: Take-home, open-book exam
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: No
  • Participation: Required and graded