Theoretically, arbitration is an alternative form of resolving disputes and lawyering without drawn daggers. Therefore, in textbooks and manuals, they save time; are less expensive and more flexible, and lead to amicable resolution of conflicts among other laudable attributes, unattainable by the regular litigious courts. The ideal arbitral tribunal would resolve issues faster with a judge whose knowledge on the matter would fill a mile high text and parties would continue to live happily ever after.
Whoever thought about this idea must have underestimated the power of ‘true’ legal training, where the better lawyer contests every fact including the shade of the sun on the date the agreement was first thought about, and has countless skills in frustrating the matter by repeated adjournments. A ‘proper lawyer’ knows that settlement is for losers and will ridicule any attempt to reach a solution that does not involve total destruction of the opponent – why preach when we can do carnage and destruction and get paid for it?
At least those are most the lessons I may be learning from law practice. Ghandi and I are handling a six-year old arbitral matter. It used to be handled by another firm until the client debriefed the first firm and handed it over to ours last month. While reading through the case file, I discovered that parties had actually decided to settle about four and a half years ago but after some exchange of correspondence, ‘settlement had broken down’, a synonym for a much longer winded phrase – the-lawyers-would-not-settle-since-settling-would-mean-a-lower-percentage-for-fees.
Due to the limitation laws, the award may not even be enforceable since the agreement was not ‘under seal’ or by deed – which is another formality which rationale still eludes my ignorant self.
Don’t we all love the law and the ass?