Arbitration as a Career

Author: Nikita Pandey, 3rd Year, B.A. LL.B(H), School of Law, Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal

Why Arbitration?

Arbitration is among those fields of law which are less travelled and have a lot to explore. Pick up a contract of maybe an insurance company, a loan agreement with a bank, a government contract or a joint venture agreement etc. you will find a clause of arbitration in it. The lawyers in making might find themselves at some point of time in a place with either many regular choices or in a loss of choices. Here my attempt would precisely be with an approach to showcase this field of law which is of growing importance with each passing year and therefore has a lot to offer. The law students who want something different, something other than litigation can think of this as a suitable option as a career.


You might be wondering what kind of steps a law student must take for a career in Arbitration. Every field requires devotion, so of course, it is the starting point. Now coming to the main points, a law student seeking a career in Arbitration –

  1. A law student must construct themselves as good strategy framers in order to be dynamic in their approach and build.
  2. They must have an extensive approach towards Problem solving and with that, they also require to shape their argumentative skills with quality.
  3. A good understanding of Contract law, especially a good understanding in the commercial contract is necessary so that you will be able to know how to, 1. represent your client and 2. that you may have a fair idea of where an issue may arise and how you can deal with it.
  4. A strong grasp on the procedural law and for that internships are additionally necessary to advance a better insight in how a simple matter of contract can be an issue and how can it be dealt with and get a better familiarity, as well as an understanding in problem-solving and presentation of arguments, are executed which are essential in the field of Arbitration as well can be practised.
  5. Obviously it’s impertinent to know the laws and orders relating to Arbitration, it is advisable to be well acquainted with the developments in the said law on all fronts, be it the domestic front or the international front. In order to understand the Arbitration world and get the guidance of law internationally and domestically, it is important to know which legal framework is used on both of them, internationally the UNCITRAL Model law[1] is used and the famous New York Convention whereas domestically, we have the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996[2].
  6. Being abreast with various occurrences, in the arbitration world, be it the laws or orders or scholarly works or blogs or conferences, etc., is a strong foothold step which is very necessary.
  7. Network building is yet another important step that will help you at different levels of your career.
  8. Doing additional courses to better yourself will always help you to find yourself in good shape and will broaden your versatility.
  9. Participate in Arbitration focused competitions that are Arbitration moot court competitions like –
    1. GD Goenka University CIArb International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition
    1. NLS Trilegal Investment Treaty Arbitration Moot
    1. Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot
    1. Moot Mexico
    1. Vis East Moot, held in Hong Kong
    1. Moot Madrid
    1. Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot held in Vienna
  10. Another thing that might be of help would be to become a member of the youth chapters of the Arbitral institutions like -:
  11. Young MCIA (by the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration, a fast emerging Indian arbitral institution)
  12. Young MCI Arb (by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators)
  13. Young ICC (by the International Chamber of Commerce)
  14. Young ICCA (by the International Council for Commercial Arbitration)
  15. Young LCIA (by the London Court of International Arbitration)
  16. Young SIAC (by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre)

Keeping a track with these might help one in paving a road map to a career in this field.

Requirements other than skills

For Arbitration a person requires a Bachelor’s degree in Law. Major in some subjects can be required but it is not mandatory. According to Indian law, there is no specific requirement as such pertaining to qualifications other than the mentioned above. An additional requirement other than the above is that a person should be of sound mind and of the age of majority than that person is capable of being an arbitrator[3].

Paving a Way through Various Opportunities

Arbitration is diverse, so the career opportunities offered are numerous in number. The specialization would vary upon the kind of law being adjudicated. So a person may choose the type of Arbitration of his interest. Arbitration can be Commercial arbitration or Investment Arbitration or Labor Arbitration. Commercial Arbitration is related to the application and interpretation of terms of law into practical cases of Commercial nature[4]. Investment Arbitration refers to establishing the common grounds on the negotiated terms. Labor Arbitration is divided into grievance and interest arbitration[5]. Further one can opt for Ad hoc Arbitration or Institutional Arbitration, pertaining to the way of executingg an arbitration.

Ad Hoc Arbitration

Under this, the parties come up with this arrangement after the dispute has arisen. The Parties with their mutual consent select the Arbitrators. The important thing to note is that Arbitrators should not have any prior link with either of the party to avoid the conflict of interest as according to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996. All the important and vital parameters under this are governed according to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996.

Institutional Arbitration

On a different note than the Ad hoc Arbitration, the Arbitration under this is not concluded by an individual person or a group of persons. These are specialized organizations/institutions established to conduct arbitration as according to the rules prescribed by such institution. Here it is important to know that the Arbitration under such institution is done by the arbitrators and not the institution, therefore institutions are mere platforms where Arbitrations are facilitated to be done according to the institution’s prescribed rules.

Domestic Institutions (Indian Arbitration Institutions) –

  • Indian Council of Arbitration(ICA)[6]
  • Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry(FICCI)[7]
  • International Chamber of Commerce(ICC)[8]
  • The International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution(ICADR)[9]
  • Nani Palkivala Arbitration Centre[10]
  • Delhi International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) – New Delhi[11]
  • Construction Industry Arbitration Council (CIAC)- New Delhi[12]

International Institutions –

  • World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Centre[13]
  • Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)[14]
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)[15]
  • London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)[16]


Arbitration is a Challenging and interesting Career Option. The Burgeoning development in Arbitration is laying great opportunities for the law students and to be a part of it will help them make the kind of difference they want to make. This field asks devotion as all do and the approach written above is not to frighten you and is certainly not a prescribed procedure to be followed strictly but it is more like pointers which you can incorporate if you choose this option. Making a Career is what we all are made to think that this is how we are suppose to do things but the simple thing is, choosing a path that feels less of a burden and more of a journey which you want to explore and that can make things different for yourself.

[1] UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration 1985, UNCITRAL.Org,

[2] Arbitration and Conciliation Act, (Act No. 26), 1996, India code.Nic.In,  

[3] Arbitrator- Qualifications and Capacities, ICAIndia.Co.In,

[4] ibid

[5] Peter Seitz, Strictly Arbitrary: What Do Arbitrators Do?, The American Scholar, Vol. 53, No. 4 (The Phi Beta Kappa Society, Autumn 1984), pp. 514-521.












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