Arbitration? Talk to a maritime attorney

Hello? Yes. Right. Um-mm. Okay, well that’s a “no.” For sweet’s sake, don’t write your contract’s arbitration language yourself! So you think you’re just going to whip something up and wordsmith it into your standard terms and conditions?

Look, it’s sometimes hard to get your dance partner on the arbitration floor. Use the wrong language, string the words together awkwardly, and all of sudden you’re trying to convince a federal judge that your arbitration language is effective and enforceable. That’s not only expensive, it’ll likely result in the resolution of your dispute being delayed, thus frustrating probably one of the main reasons you want an arbitration term.

What’s that? Well, yes, I suppose there is a sort of general preference for enforcing arbitration, but if the arbitration language is challenged the court has to be convinced, among other things, that you and your dance partner actually agreed to resolve disputes in arbitration. Plus, the court is going to want to see that the dispute at issue falls under the arbitration language. In other words, did the parties agree to arbitrate this particular dispute, some narrow group of disputes or all disputes?

Right, I agree with you. Don’t hire an attorney. Instead hire an admiralty attorney with experience drafting these types of provisions and, if you’re lucky, an admiralty attorney with experience successfully litigating the enforcement of arbitration provisions.

Where? The Maritime Law Association of the United States. They list their admiralty attorneys by city and state. Easy. Never a bother. Be well.

Underway and making way.


About the author

John K. Fulweiler

John K. Fulweiler is a licensed mariner and experienced admiralty attorney. He represents individuals and companies throughout the East and Gulf Coasts and has recently taken command of his own maritime law firm. He enjoys navigating the choppy waters of the maritime law, but readily admits to missing life on the water. He can be reached at . His website is

Leave A Reply

© Diversified Communications. All rights reserved.