College of Commercial Arbitrators Honored for Protocols

- The College of Commercial Arbitrators (CCA), the leading national organization of commercial arbitrators, has received an outstanding practical achievement award from CPR, the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, for its work creating protocols for arbitration.

 The award, presented on January 11 as part of CPR’s annual meeting, recognizes CCA for its efforts to return arbitration to its roots as a cost-effective, efficient alternative to litigation.

“In this era of costly litigation, it is important that we make arbitration as useful and cost-effective as possible. This award recognizes the vision of our past-president Curt von Kann who put these important ideas into motion and the hard work of many people – especially our editor Tom Stipanowich – who helped develop these practical steps,” said Stanley Sklar, president of the College of Commercial Arbitrators and Principal/Attorney for Dispute Resolution Services. “Our protocols are timely and necessary to help safeguard the future effectiveness of arbitration.”

The judges found the protocols to be worthy of the award “because they pulled together in one place guidelines for best practices in arbitration,” said Helena Tavares Erickson, senior vice president and secretary of CPR.

“We are delighted that our work has been recognized with this prestigious award,” said Edna Sussman, of SussmanADR LLC, a member of the CCA board and protocol committee. “Our organization is committed to making arbitration a dispute resolution process that works well for all parties so that disputes can be resolved as efficiently as possible and in a less costly way than litigation.”

The “CCA Protocols for Expeditious, Cost-Effective Commercial Arbitration” are the result of a yearlong examination of the state of arbitration and provide practical, action steps for business users, counsel, arbitrators and providers.  The process began with a "National Summit" of arbitration leaders, including in-house counsel from companies such as DuPont, Boeing, and Dell, outside counsel and ADR providers.

The CCA’s recommendations include:

-       Placing absolute time limits on arbitrations, with most lasting no more than 6-9 months.

-       Setting budgets for arbitrations that are strictly enforced for all parties.

-       Increasing the hands-on role of in-house counsel to better control costs and timelines.

-       Recognizing that if parties wish to engage in protracted, costly discovery, they should consider litigation, as arbitration may not be the best forum for such disputes.

-       Directing arbitration providers to offer parties a choice of services, including the option of “fast track” arbitrations (with no discovery or motions).

-       Advising arbitrators to take a more active role in managing parties, budgets and timelines.

A copy of the Protocols is also available at

About the College of Commercial Arbitrators

Established in 2001, the College of Commercial Arbitrators is a national organization of commercial arbitrators providing a meaningful contribution to the profession, the public and to the businesses and lawyers who depend on commercial arbitration as a primary means of dispute resolution.  CCA promotes the highest standards of conduct, professionalism and ethical practice, develops “best practices,” and provides peer training and professional development.  The College provides interaction and communication in the profession, and offers an easy means to identify those individuals whose professional training and experience qualify them to undertake the most complex and difficult arbitration assignments.

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