Arbitration, an alternative to a courtroom trial, has both its advantages and disadvantages. Arbitration is a private proceeding, where parties agree to have a neutral, third party resolve their dispute. Whether arbitration is the right solution depends on the nature of the business. You should decide the pros and cons of arbitration before deciding whether to include it in your contract.
  • Cost: Arbitration can be less costly than a court proceeding, because often the procedural and discovery aspects are streamlined.
  • Speed: Usually, although not always, resolution by arbitration is quicker than by trial.
  • Finality: Generally, there is no appeal of an arbitration award. Once rendered, a court will enforce it and will not look behind the award for error.
  • No jury: The dispute will be resolved by an arbitrator who usually has a substantial level of experience and education. Arbitration reduces the chances of an emotional-based decision.


  • Cost: The court system is paid for by taxpayers, with parties paying only nominal filing fees. In arbitration, however, the parties must bear the significant administrative costs, including paying for an arbitrator.
  • Speed: There are some times when it may be advantageous for a party to employ the full scope of the procedural and discovery rules provided in a court proceeding. In an arbitration proceeding, a party may find himself forced to a hearing sooner than he wishes.
  • Finality: Parties are stuck with an arbitration award - even if an arbitrator makes a blatant mistake.
  • No jury: From a plaintiff's perspective, the right to a trial by jury is one of the most important aspects of the court system. That right is waived when one agrees to arbitration.















5301 Spring Valley Rd.

Suite 200

Dallas, Texas 75254


Earnest W. Leonard      



Ernest W. Leonard is a board certified civil trial law specialist who handles a variety of business disputes. He received a B.B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1986, and his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989.

He has been licensed to practice in the State of Texas since 1989, and is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas. He is a member of the Dallas Bar Association and State Bar of Texas. Mr. Leonard is a former law clerk to the Honorable Robert C. McGuire, Chief Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.



Bankruptcy;  Business Litigation