Jeff Zaino on the Future of Arbitration

By Jennifer Andrus

July 1, 2024

Jeff Zaino on the Future of Arbitration


By Jennifer Andrus

Jeff Zaino, the vice president of the Commercial Division at the American Arbitration Association, discussed issues ranging from AI to the need to attract diverse talent to arbitration on the latest episode of  the “Miranda Warnings” podcast.

Zaino explained to podcast host David Miranda that education is a key component of his work.

“I go out and speak at law firms and bar associations about the benefits of arbitration and mediation. I really believe in this stuff, I’ve been doing it for over 30 years and it has grown tremendously,” he said. “When I started in the nineties, we hit one million cases. Since then, we’ve hit eight million, and average about 500,000 cases a year.”

“The consumer stuff ballooned during the pandemic, making up about 30% of our business.  Healthcare, financial service and construction are taking off big time,” he says.

A lawyer  must have 15 years of legal experience  to be considered for membership in the arbitration association. There are more than 400 members just in the state of New York.

Zaino says the association is proud of providing lists of qualified arbitrators with at least 30% diverse candidates.

“We send out a list with the resume of the arbitrators with a photograph and a video link, but lawyers often do their own homework in addition to our resumes,” he said. “We ask our clients what they are looking for and they will go into detail before our case manager generates the list. In most cases, we are hitting over 30% for diversity, closer to 40%.”

Zaino says his role in educating lawyers and law students about the field also helps build a pipeline to increase diversity over the next decade.

“Every year I speak at 10 to 15 law schools, meeting young people from all backgrounds, saying someday this may be a career for you. After you have some experience, think about it,” he says. “We are building the pipeline and I think its working.”

To hear more about the impact of technology and AI on the field of arbitration, listen to the full interview below:

Listen to “Miranda Warnings” here:

Watch the full interview here:

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