Vanderbilt Law Review


Benjamin Aaron

First Page



By training and experience, lawyers are accustomed to deal with problems within a well-defined procedural framework. Familiarity with established rules of conduct, however archaic and nonsensical they may be, apparently does not breed contempt; on the contrary, it seems to enhance the average lawyer's feelings of security and self-confidence. Conversely, he is apt to become uneasy, irritable, even indignant, when compelled to function within a system of loose and flexible procedures, inconsistently applied according to a logic that to him is at best obscure and often inscrutable. The attorney who is not a labor relations specialist, and who only occasionally becomes involved in a dispute arising out of collective bargaining, is thus inclined to regard labor arbitration as a somewhat untidy and puzzling system. The primary purpose of this article, therefore, is to contribute to the general practitioner's understanding of the manner in which procedure is made to effectuate the arbitration process. Even if that purpose is achieved, however, it does not necessarily follow that the system will become more attractive. Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner bespeaks a generosity of attitude that is out of place here; it is entirely possible that our hypothetical lawyer's distaste for arbitration procedures may grow in direct proportion to his increased understanding of them. Nevertheless, the good lawyer must learn to adapt himself to new situations and to function effectively even within a system that he dislikes. Stated in another way, therefore, the purpose of this article is to suggest ways in which the general practitioner can, through a better understanding of arbitration procedures, enhance his own usefulness as a participant.