Writing Contentions: Every student learns how to “IRAC” in law school, and every lawyer hears repeated lectures from professors, judges, and veteran attorneys on the importance of effective brief writing. All that you have heard and learned should still be utilized in your contention writing for Intercompany Arbitration Forums. Your efforts should not be lowered because the case is presented in arbitration instead of a court. However, your language and format can be more informal, as long as your points are communicated well. Have a clean format and be sure to include at least these main sections: Introduction, Facts, Liability, Damages, Prayer, Comparative Fault/Contributory Negligence Issues, Rebuttal Arguments, etc.
Supporting Your Contentions with Evidence: Collect and submit all the evidence available that supports your contentions and damages. Statements and reports are of upmost importance to prevail on liability. Invoices, photos, damage summaries, etc. are of upmost importance to prevail on damages. However, also obtain and submit maps, photos, weather reports, diagrams, itemizations, etc., as appropriate for your case. The key is to support your contentions as best as possible and paint an easy-to-follow picture for the arbitrator(s).
Evidence is not due until the materials due date; however, your contentions should reference each piece of evidence, as it supports the facts and arguments stated. Therefore, if possible, collect and submit all the evidence at the same time you submit the contentions. This is extremely time efficient. If this is not possible, then set a reminder to collect the remaining evidence and submit everything before the deadline.
Rebuttal Arguments: There are no reply briefs submitted in Intercompany Arbitration Forums, so unless you are presenting your case live in front of the arbitrator(s) (which requires an administrative request when submitting your docket), then your initial contentions are your first and final words on presenting your case. With that in mind, have rebuttal arguments planned for your contentions. In most cases, the carriers have already went a round or two in fact finding and attempts at resolution. Therefore, by the time you are preparing for arbitration, you know the other side’s arguments. If you have facts, legal arguments, and/or evidence to rebut the Respondent’s opposition, then present them with your analysis in the initial contentions. This can be included in your regular sections for facts and liability, or you can create another section header toward the end.
In preparing your case for Intercompany Arbitration Forums, you are presenting the case from beginning to end before clicking the “Submit” button. You must conduct the investigation, draft your contentions, locate and submit evidence, rebut the opposition’s arguments, and give your closing statement. Thus, be prepared to present your entire case to the arbitrator(s) at the outset.