Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Guide to Careers in International Affairs

Guide to Careers in International Affairs (Including Review of Top Job Sites)

Finding the right job in conflict resolution, international development and related fields requires a combination of the right experience and training, an understanding of the field, developing strong connections and a bit of serendipity. In addition to academic and/or professional training, it is essential to have an understanding of how conflict resolution works in practice. Many people working in conflict related jobs, will not find employment with "conflict resolution organizations" but with organizations in others sectors (international development, education, environment, business) working on conflict related jobs. Thus it is also important in the job search to broaden your scope to include international development organizations, government and intergovernmental institutions, for-profit and business institutions, educational institutions, and more.

One of the things that I encourage my students to consider is developing strong skills in conflict resolution processes and theory, but also develop an expertise in a another sector and/or regional area. For more information on careers in the field, see a report I co-authored, Skills, Networks and Knowledge: Careers in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. offers guide to careers in the field based on interviews with over 60 organizations and practitioners. The document also offers 10 pages of resources for finding jobs, internships, scholarships and more. You can download the report for Download Webreport.pdf or at the ACT website. Another great resource is a Career Guide from Sustainability on Corporate Social Responsibility. Idealist has also developed an excellent guide to Nonprofit Careers and a separate Careers Resources Section . Dr. John Paul Lederach and Kate Mansfield from the Kroc Institute have also developed a wonderful visual representation of possible careers in the field.

Here are some additional career development suggestions

1) Develop a Strong Resume - Make sure you have a strong, clear and compelling resume and cover letter. See the Download TipsforWritingEffectiveResumes.pdf . Many university career centers also offer guidance on resumes.

2) Conduct Informational Interviews - Most people are more than happy to talk about their job and conducting informational interviews can be an excellent way to learn more about an organization and what a career is like in a particular area. Informational interviews are a chance for you to ask general questions of someone already in the field. However, it is very important in informational interviews not to ask for a job or put pressure on the person you're speaking with to help you find a job.

3) Subscribe to Key Web and Job Lists - There are countless numbers of websites that provide resources on jobs and internships in the field (and in related fields). You should get on all or some of these sites as you will get daily or weekly updates of opportunities around the world (note some charge a fee, whiles others are free or provide partial postings for free).
Some of the best sites for jobs directly in conflict resolution, development, social entrepreneurship, etc. include (some of these sites have been suggested by the Skoll Foundation's www.socialedge.org site on social entrepreneurship which is a wonderful resource):
Other Job Sites/Resources that may have relevant jobs:
3) Use your contacts/networks - One of the key strategies for finding a job/internship is to consult your personal and professional networks. Let your professors, colleagues and friends know that you're seeking an opportunity and perhaps they will have suggestions/contacts. University career centers and alumni can also be terrific resources.

4)Join New Networks- Joining a professional network in the field can also be a useful way to make contacts and learn about opportunities. Some relevant networks include:
Society for International Development or Society for International Development DC Chapter
Association for Conflict Resolution
Women in International Security
Peace and Justice Studies Association

5) Examine Ethical Practice - When you are researching an organization it is important to make sure that the organization's ethics and practice fit with your values. If you're offered a job (hopefully before this happens) learn about what the organization does, how do they treat their staff, how do they work in they field and with partners, etc.

6) Considering Taking a Job to Get Experience - Although many people would like to obtain their ideal job right away, sometimes it may be worth considering taking a job that will help you develop the necessary skills, contacts and experience that in the future can help lead to more of an ideal job.

7) Explore Fellowship Opportunities - There are many excellent fellowships/scholarships that do provide funding for independent research/volunteer work/study. Thus, fellowships can be an excellent way to get experience in the field. You can find many fellowships/scholarships on this site by searching by various keywords.

8) Explore Organizations that Have Developed Mentoring Programs for New Employees - A number of organizations have developed special entry level positions in which new employees receive extra mentoring. Look for organizations that have Junior Program Officer Positions (some in the UN), Entry Level Fellowships (Catholic Relief Services in the US) and others.

9) Develop an Expertise in a Needed Area - There are number of current areas in which the field is in need of developing further expertise. Developing your skills in this area can make you more attractive to potential employers. Some areas include: Program Evaluation and Monitoring, Conflict Mainstreaming and Conflict Sensitivity (Integrating Conflict Across Sectors), Organizational Conflict Management. Talk with your colleagues and other professionals in the field to see what might be potential growth areas.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Historic Africa

The real, historic, Africa is a much more intriguing place than the reconstructed mythic one.

Societies run without central governments, participatory democracies (including participation by slave groups), and other really neat things, are all found there.

Was reading the Wall Street Journal, obviously, and the article was about all of the interesting and powerful African history that has been overlooked.  Everyone, from Anarchists to small market specialists could learn a lot from that history.

So could some FRPG designers. ;)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Playing at the World -- Errata

Ok, I just started reading Playing at the World.

I may review it later, but I wanted to address/gloss over the few times I'm mentioned or footnoted in the book.

"a certain Steve Marsh" [footnote 848][at Kindle page 14,,498 of 21,,918].  Made me wonder how I could become an uncertain Steve Marsh. ;)

The footnote is accurate.

 "Elder" Steve Marsh [footnote 856].  Flipping to the footnote, Steve Marsh was referred to as "Elder" because he was at that time serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and missionaries all use the title "Elder."

Next, "Tim Kask may claim he paid "good money," but the case of Steve Marsh ..." leads to the wrong conclusion.  At the time, for what I was doing, Tim wasn't supposed to pay me anything. [footnote 889] -- Tim was also gone by the time the fall-through occurred.  Bottom line was that Gary was unable to keep promises he made because he lost control of the company.  You can guess who was responsible for the company when Gary did not have control. 

Page 15,911 of 21,918 does make reference to my gibbering ghoul and some work by Mark Swanson (who was a gentleman and a scholar) as well as credit Gary gave me for my undersea creations (a lead in to the plane of water which did not emerge from the depths, due to conflicts and issues).

Finally, the author quotes my comments about Authentic Thaumaturgy with my caveats.  That made me smile.

All in all, good work, first pass. 

Now to read it with much more depth.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Political Post 4

To quote:

No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign. Instead of focusing on the big issues that are important to the American People, it has fired a relentlessly negative barrage of distortions, misrepresentations, and flat-out lies.

Just look at the Other Side’s latest commercial, which take a perfectly reasonable statement by the candidate for My Side completely out of context to make it seem as if he is saying something nefarious. This just shows you how desperate the Other Side is and how willing it is to mislead the American People.

The Other Side also has been hammering away at My Side to release certain documents that have nothing to do with anything, and making all sorts of outrageous accusations about what might be in them. Meanwhile, the Other Side has stonewalled perfectly reasonable requests to release its own documents that would expose some very embarrassing details if anybody ever found out what was in them. This just shows you what a bunch of hypocrites they are.

Naturally, the media won’t report any of this. Major newspapers and cable networks jump all over anything they think will make My Side look bad. Yet they completely ignore critically important and incredibly relevant information that would be devastating to the Other Side if it could ever be verified.

I will admit the candidates for My Side do make occasional blunders. These usually happen at the end of exhausting 19-hour days and are perfectly understandable. Our leaders are only human, after all. Nevertheless, the Other Side inevitably makes a big fat deal out of these trivial gaffes, while completely ignoring its own candidates’ incredibly thoughtless and stupid remarks – remarks that reveal the Other Side’s true nature, which is genuinely frightening.

My Side has produced a visionary program that will get the economy moving, put the American People back to work, strengthen national security, return fiscal integrity to Washington, and restore our standing in the international community. What does the Other Side have to offer? Nothing but the same old disproven, discredited policies that got us into our current mess in the first place.

Don’t take my word for it, though. I recently read about an analysis by an independent, nonpartisan organization that supports My Side. It proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that everything I have been saying about the Other Side was true all along. Of course, the Other Side refuses to acknowledge any of this. It is too busy cranking out so-called studies by so-called experts who are actually  nothing but partisan hacks. This just shows you that the Other Side lives in its own little echo chamber and refuses to listen to anyone who has not already drunk its Kool-Aid.

Let’s face it: The Other Side is held hostage by a radical, failed ideology. I have been doing some research on the Internet, and I have learned this ideology was developed by a very obscure but nonetheless profoundly influential writer with a strange-sounding name who enjoyed brief celebrity several decades ago. If you look carefully, you can trace nearly all the Other Side’s policies for the past half-century back to the writings of this one person.

To be sure, the Other Side also has been influenced by its powerful supporters. These include a reclusive billionaire who has funded a number of organizations far outside the political mainstream; several politicians who have said outrageous things over the years; and an alarmingly large number of completely clueless ordinary Americans who are being used as tools and don’t even know it.

These people are really pathetic, too. The other day I saw a YouTube video in which My Side sent an investigator and a cameraman to a rally being held by the Other Side, where the investigator proceeded to ask some real zingers. It was hilarious! First off, the people at the rally wore T-shirts with all kinds of lame messages that they actually thought were really clever. Plus, many of the people who were interviewed were overweight, sweaty, flushed, and generally not very attractive. But what was really funny was how stupid they were. There is no way anyone could watch that video and not come away convinced the people on My Side are smarter, and that My Side is therefore right about everything.

Besides, it’s clear that the people on the Other Side are driven by mindless anger – unlike My Side, which is filled with passionate idealism and righteous indignation. That indignation, I hasten to add, is entirely justified. I have read several articles in publications that support My Side that expose what a truly dangerous group the Other Side is, and how thoroughly committed it is to imposing its radical, failed agenda on the rest of us.

That is why I believe 2012 is, without a doubt, the definingelection of our lifetime. The difference between My Side and theOther Side could not be greater. That is why it absolutely must winon November 6.

Political Post 3

To quote Nate again:

Just to be clear, crazy people who agree with me are an unfortunate aberration that are unfairly being used by people who agree with you to slander people like me. On the other hand, crazy people who agree with you simply reveal the frightening true nature of your beliefs.

Political Post 2

To quote Nate Oman:

I have bipartisan solutions that the other side is too partisan to support. Of course it goes without saying that I have no choice but to oppose the purely partisan measures pushed by the other side.

Politcal Post 1

Your candidate flip flops. Our candidate evolved.

Pragmatic NeoFederalist campaign talking point 57.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Some must read articles on video game design

Finally hit some must read articles on understanding design choices and the most popular video games of our times.

Start with: http://insertcredit.com/2011/09/22/who-killed-videogames-a-ghost-story/ It goes over exactly how farmville and similar games work, why they work and the entire theory and practice behind microtransactions. Everyone who is thinking of selling an app or a computer game needs to read it, if nothing else, just for the numbers.

Also, if you can tolerate it, here is his in depth review of Sims Social which extends the analysis  (the web page design is actually extremely painful and hostile to readers, I'm not certain of the reason for the template he uses).

Next, with very clean numbers, again, is Congratulations, Your First Indie Game is a Flop
How much can your first indie game make?

This question has been answered many times in the last year and we now know some important things about full or part-time independent as well as hobbyist iOS game developers:
  • The majority (median 25 percent) of their games earn from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • If you're lucky, you'll be in the next 20 percent above that, earning from $10k to 100k.
  • But you're more likely in the quarter below, earning only $100 to $1,000.
Lots more.  His game flopped because of marketing failures, miss-steps, bad luck and, of course, it was a first game.  But the numbers are interesting and useful.

After that, well, I'll have to update ...


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Going into the business (FRPGs)...

This one is about going into the business of FRPG games as a writer and publisher assuming you have two years to do it from today.

The best advice I saw was:  don't.  Ok, you are going to ignore that advice and have two or three years to prepare and save money.

First, attend NTRPG con next year.  You can visit with almost every old style publisher in the industry and with almost every one of the old style designers.  Eldritch Ent, Frog God/Necromancer Games, Sandy Petersen.  Odds are you will only miss out on Chaosium and Steve Jackson Games as far as old school games go.  Talk with people about their product lines, look at the product lines.

Second, buy and read Marketing Without Advertising: Easy Ways to Build a Business Your Customers Will Love and Recommend by Michael Phillips and Salli Rasberry (Jun 5, 2008).  There are a number of editions, similar names, any will do.  Available cheap through Amazon but -- even cheaper through interlibrary loan.

Third, decide exactly what niche you will fit in the industry. I just saw an excellently produced Cthulhu mythos product for OD&D -- but it is going to compete with both d20 Call of Cthulhu and BRP Call of Cthulhu.  cf Call of Cthulhu. It was a really good product, but good enough to squeeze into that niche?

Fourth, get an idea of the supply lines and distribution lines in the industry you want to sell to -- where will you meet people who might buy your materials on the wholesale/distributor/retailer level.

Fifth, if you want to pay a professional who knows the industry to talk about the industry, I'd retain Jennell Jaquays.  As Paul Jaquays (before the transition), Jacquays edited or worked for just about everyone in the industry and in related industries -- and never did anyone wrong.  Open, honest and intelligent and insightful.  If you are going to pay someone, hire Jennell after you've done steps one through four above.

Sixth, do something, a proof of concept, in final form (the way it would look off the press -- you can use a POD or print on demand service to do a small run of five or less copies) so you can do the following:
  • Decide if you have it in you to do tight editing (I find that I do, but my willingness to do it is highly dependent on being paid in advance.  Until then I tend to be more interested in playing with the concepts than in refining them).
  • Decide if you have it in you to do professional proof reading (I can do that too, I've been a professional editor -- but, see the above.  I get more out of playing with things than editing my own work).
  • Decide it you understand how to do professional formatting.  There are some brilliantly executed works out there (being a judge for the Five Castles competition this year really wowed me.  There are people who are executing brilliantly in genre, producing things that would pass for TSR products of the 1980s, and those who are producing things using modern sensibilities). That includes consistent artwork, presentation, use of white space, etc.
  • Decide just how much material you can produce and why you want to produce it.
Seven, ask yourself what you have to offer (that is very, very similar to finding a niche) and why someone would want it from you.  Do that in the context of visiting the Small Business Administration offices in your area and going over the free materials and advice that they have for people who want to start a business.

Oh, and what order to do all of that?

Start with step seven.  Then do step three -- but you will revisit that.  Then take step two. Then look at step four.  Rethink step three (in light of step two) and do step six.  

Now you are ready to revisit step four and talk to the people in that chain.  Now, you should still be more than a year away, and ready for step one and step five.

It has been one year. You are now ready to start applying what you learned in step six.  Put together a business plan, map out what product line you intend to promulgate, get a much better look at independent publishing.

Year two, plan a launch strategy to go with your business strategy.

Now, all of that said, I want to note what some people have said on the topic:
David Morrison Trying to make significant cash in traditional RPG publishing is a tricky one, because there's an endless supply of gamers prepared to make stuff ever more cheaply. However, the market is within reach of a combination of disruptive technologies, design methods and gaming formats that already make more money than RPGs for digital publishers, but receive little attention from Tabletop RPG publishers
Yes.  There are people who can and do make money.

Let me be clearer.

Monte Cook Six figures isn't impossible in the tabletop game industry, it's just difficult and not a good goal. But it sounds like that's not your goal. And happiness is waaaaay more important than money
But that gives you a two year plan for deciding if the industry is really for you.

Some additional useful links (and yes, these are somewhat random, designed to get you thinking, not designed to provide you answers):
Feel free to add advice in the comments.

Review of NTPRG Con 2012

http://ntrpgcon.com/ -- In my mind the best con of the year. Intimate, 14 guests of honor to about 300 con goers. A place where you can have breakfast with Tim Kask, game with Frank Metzer and play test with Jeff Dee or have dinner with Jennell Jaquays or pose for a picture with Zeb Cook. 

This is all without any crowds.  Without anyone making you feel like you are crowded, can not have access or that there is an inside crowd that is excluding you.

You can visit with anyone, from a fellow con goer to a guest of honor without terribly much competition other than maybe an extra guest of honor at the table -- who will be open and available too.

A place where the snacks were sold on the honor system (obviously not for profit either), where no one was intent on squeezing a profit out of you, and where the vendors were delightful and friendly.

Not to mention, four or five of the top ten collectors in the nation were there -- and willing to talk about their collections, a couple even brought parts of them to create displays with and to let people look at things.

For the website (and for their forums and, at some point, a link to next year): NTRPGCon - Annual Role Playing Game Convention

Really nothing like it in the world.  Which is why I go every year.

Friday, April 13, 2012

On dieting

I'm quoting from another blog.  Click on the links, the blog is worth reading.  The bottom line is that the moment you start cheating it swallows everything else.

Unprocessed Food Diet (Again)

01.20.2012 · Posted in diet and nutrition, food, health
Photo by adactio via flickr
I’m back on my Unprocessed Food Diet (UFD). I had been maintaining my weight under 190 for a while, but over the past year, my eating habits deteriorated. My once a week cheat days on the slow carb diet became cheat weekends. Then I started eating badly all the time. It finally got to the point where I was eating fast food again daily, and my weight was going up every week. Add the holidays to the equation and well, I had to change things.A few weeks ago, I started a fitness boot camp at my gym. As has sometimes happened in the past, over the first couple of weeks, my eating habits actually got worse and this Monday, I peaked at 198.8, at least 25 pounds over where I’d like to be. So I decided to put myself back on the UFD and continue working out. (more…)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

On Arbitration -- A primer

I'm locked out of my website's directory system (some sort of system change), so I'm posting this here, it will go on-line there as soon as that gets debugged.

Arbitration Primer
 ©2012 Judy Larkins of USADR, Inc.

Arbitration Overview

There are situations that require a binding decision – either from a court - or an arbitrator.   Most people are familiar with a court proceeding, so it begs the question… What is Arbitration?

Arbitration falls under the category of Alternative Dispute Resolution, commonly shortened to ADR.  ADR offers an alternative path for people to resolve their disputes in ways that are outside of the normal legal channels, such as filing a lawsuit in court. 

Arbitration is different than the court system.  It is not a judicial process, even though there is sometimes pressure to treat it as such.  Arbitration sprang from a premise that business and industry disputes may be best resolved outside of a criminal court system.  A general contractor, for instance, may act as an arbitrator in construction disputes.  The contractor has in-depth knowledge of the work and terminology used in the field, so the decision rendered by an industry arbitrator may be very different than a decision by a judge, whose background is steeped in the law.

Arbitration is common in business and commercial contracts.  These are the cases that arbitration was originally designed to address, and they represent the bulk of the cases today.  Arbitration is not generally used in criminal cases.

Using the court system to solve problems is often overkill.  The length of time necessary to get to hearing is often prohibitive.  The legal process is punctuated by formality and is often confusing to non-attorneys.  A business or layperson’s understanding of the Rules of Evidence often prohibits submitting evidence in litigation unless it is done in a narrow, specific way.  Legal formality fosters the need to hire an attorney, which adds to the cost of resolving the dispute, and the dispute itself is usually costly.  It is not uncommon for litigation to take years!  Additionally, the element of fairness may not be addressed by a judge because judges are bound by both the written law and an extensive body of case law, created over the years by a myriad of past cases that may or may not seemingly apply to your business case.

Arbitration offers a confidential hearing before a neutral decision-maker, often an industry expert, who delivers a binding award with limited appeal after providing the parties with a full and fair hearing.  A “party” can refer to an individual or a business entity such as a corporation or partnership. 

Arbitrators must disclose any known conflict of interest and sign an oath that they have no known bias and can be fair in dealing with the parties and the subject matter in dispute prior to accepting appointment to a case.

In most business contract and commercial cases, arbitration is confidential and the arbitration award is binding with very little opportunity for appeal. Confidentiality is perceived as a tremendous benefit, protecting the reputations of those involved in the dispute.  This is in stark contrast to courts of law, where decisions are published and referred to for years to come.

Lastly, arbitration is not mediation.  Mediation also falls under the category of ADR, and often these terms are used interchangeably due to confusion.  To clarify, mediation is a formal negotiation of the matter and does not have a guaranteed conclusion.   Just like when you offer to buy a car, if the seller doesn’t like the deal, they can walk away.  If the seller likes the deal, they sign a contract and there is a legal consequence – the car’s ownership changes hands.  However, arbitration results in a decision, like it or not.  Arbitration offers a full and fair hearing of each party’s presentation of the evidence and testimony of the parties.  There is a big difference between mediation and arbitration, even though they both fall under the category of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration History & Current Use

Many of the United States government’s structures and legal concepts were based on the designs of the Greek Republic.    Arbitration is no exception.   Aristotle wrote extensively about the concepts of justice, equity, and the law, specifically addressing arbitration’s ability to provide a measure of fairness that the law may not be able to provide.  Fast forward 2200 years…
The US formally recognized the benefits of arbitration early in the last century, especially its benefits with regard to business transactions.  The Federal Arbitration Act | FAA was enacted in 1925 and places  specific emphasis on business and maritime contracts relating to the purchase, sale and transportation of goods, commercial contracts and the disputes that arise out of the terms and conditions of these types of transactions.    The FAA provides for mandatory, binding arbitration when parties contractually agree.   Interestingly, it limits employment arbitration for railroad workers, sailors and others in cases of dispute.  "Nothing herein contained shall apply to contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce."[i][1] Arbitration for criminal cases is not provided for in the FAA.
The FAA provides for the following:
  • Defines the types of transactions suitable for arbitration and provides for enforcement of arbitration agreements
  • It addresses issues such as jurisdiction, appointment of arbitrators, and grants arbitrators the power to subpoena, with enforcement through the US District court
  • The FAA also addresses awards, the confirmation of awards and their limited appeal
  • And finally sets the expectation that the state courts will uphold awards
State Arbitration Laws:  State specific arbitration laws have become increasingly common since 1955 when The Uniform Arbitration Act was adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.  Each of the 50 states may use The Uniform Arbitration Act’s standardized language as a starting point to create and adopt as their own state specific arbitration law, or they may create a state arbitration law that has no basis in the Uniform Arbitration Act.  It is noteworthy that the Federal Arbitration Act tends to be more liberal than individual state arbitration laws, which have become increasingly restrictive in the last few decades; going as far as giving the court the ability to appoint the arbitrator in some states, and retaining jurisdiction in commercial cases to perform a de novo (new) hearing of the evidence when parties challenge the award delivered under their state arbitration laws.   Extremely restrictive laws tend to erode the benefits of arbitration.  In these cases, arbitration becomes essentially a parallel tract to a court proceeding.  All of the entanglements of litigation result in a marked increase of cost, time, and formality across the board.   
Rules of Procedure:  Each arbitration forum publishes their own Rules of Procedure, which are a detailed “rules of the game.”   These rules vary in terms of technical terminology and the level of understandability for the layperson.  There is also variance in terms of formality and rigidity.  If the arbitration provision in the contract is silent on specific rules of procedure or fails to name the specific arbitration forum, then the parties may file with any established forum.  Additionally, parties may choose to use a different forum or set of rules by agreement when the need to arbitrate arises.
Governing Law:  You may be wondering if federal or state law is followed in a particular arbitration proceeding.  Each arbitration provision is unique to the contract, and when an arbitration provision is silent on what governing law is applied, the Federal Arbitration Act is generally applied. 
However, when arbitration is conducted as it was originally intended, it offers valuable benefits.  A carefully constructed arbitration process is an ideal path for resolving disputes, as opposed to litigating a commercial matter in the courts. 

Tenets of Arbitration  

The four basic tenets or principles of arbitration include reduced formality, faster resolution, less financial cost, and fairness and fair process.  
In its pure, original form, Arbitration is designed to be
·         Less Formal than a court proceeding.  Arbitration gives the opportunity for parties to represent themselves before a private decision maker – often an industry expert – who is thereby more familiar and knowledgeable about the subject matter in dispute.  For instance, an engineer may evaluate the testimony and evidence presented by the parties very differently than an attorney or judge, when listening to both sides in a construction dispute. 
·         Reduced formality invites people to present their case.  Many people feel more comfortable in a private, more relaxed setting, than in a formal court of law. 
·         If you are able to speak clearly and maintain your composure under pressure, you may determine that you are able to present your own case and avoid the costs of legal representation.  Attorney’s fees can be significant. 
·         Industry arbitrators recognize that the parties involved in the dispute know the details best, and invite a full and fair hearing according to the priorities of those presenting their case. 
·         The presentation of your case should be based on actual facts, rather than legal theories.
Arbitration accommodates a
·         faster means of resolution, significantly compressing the timeframes that are typically experienced in court.  In contrast to litigation, which can drone on for years, an arbitrated matter can be heard in a matter of months.
A properly designed Arbitration program should
·         save money.  The program should absolutely withstand the scrutiny of a cost/benefit analysis.  In other words, does the claim amount justify the cost to bring the matter to arbitration?  
 The ideal Arbitration process provides for a
·         a more equitable, or FAIR way to resolve disputes.  Arbitration should absolutely keep an eye on fairness and fair process, rather than basing decisions on the letter of the law - or determining the case based upon past decisions of other judges in previous cases.  The arbitrator will consider any case law presented, and let’s face it, case law may or may not be helpful; each case and circumstance is different. 
So why do we keep talking about PURE arbitration and emphasizing its original design?  Because in the last 30 or 40 years, arbitration in the United States has greatly increased in terms of cost and formality, sometimes reflecting the worst excesses of litigation: massive discovery, excessive production of documents, lengthy interrogatories, etc.  These changes have had a pronounced negative impact, eroding many of the original benefits that arbitration was designed to address.
In the recent years, United States Arbitration Association has recognized the need to return to, and focus on, the original values of arbitration. 

United States Arbitration Association Services  

USADR, Inc. offers a less litigious form of dispute resolution that is affordable.  The written rules and procedures are understandable in laymen’s terms.   You don’t have to be an attorney to understand the rules of the game. USADR offers an accessible means of resolving disputes by embracing and promoting the traditional values of arbitration: affordability, expediency, and Equity.
How common is it to be bound by an arbitration agreement? Virtually everyone who conducts business has entered into an agreement to arbitrate.  Arbitration clauses are commonly included in business and commercial contracts - such as credit card agreements, insurance policies, cell phone contracts, internet software terms and conditions, and other legally binding documents.  You may be completely unaware that you have signed an arbitration agreement, so when a dispute arises and you file suit in court, the court will reject your filing and refer you to arbitration instead.
If you have signed an arbitration agreement, you must arbitrate, even when the cost of arbitration exceeds the amount being disputed.
This may present a problem, because the costs of arbitration may climb quickly, and you may not be able, or willing, to bear the necessary fees to see the matter to conclusion.  Currently, most national, established arbitration forums are cost-prohibitive for small to mid-size claims.  It simply does not make financial sense to arbitrate when you must agree to an unlimited expense in exchange for a limited judgment amount.  In addition, the rules of procedure are frequently exhaustive;  written in Legalese that may be confusing to people outside the legal profession.  Many people feel that they have no choice but to hire an attorney to navigate the process, and the fees for representation are added to the administrative costs, as well as the hourly rate for the single arbitrator or panel of 3 arbitrators who act as a private judge, or judges, who are hired to hear the matter and make a decision.
United States Arbitration Association acknowledges the need to provide a means of arbitration that is efficient and contains costs.  We have carefully designed a process that is accessible, thereby paving the way to resolve disputes.
USADR offers 3 types of arbitration: 
·         Documentary Arbitration has been designed for claims under $15,000.  An all-inclusive flat fee per party is assessed for a hearing by a single arbitrator who renders a written simple decision based on the papers.
·         Arbitration by Teleconference addresses claims that are under $75,000.  An all-inclusive flat fee is assessed when the teleconference does not exceed 3 hours.  These matters are heard by a single arbitrator who renders a written, simple decision based on the papers and oral arguments at the Teleconference.
·         Standard Arbitration offers a physical hearing before a single arbitrator, and is designed for large claims that exceed $75,000.  A filing fee is charged per party, with additional costs such as an hourly rate for the arbitrator.  All fees are described in our straight-forward Fee Schedule posted on our website at http://usadr.org.  

The following is an overview of the 3 types of arbitration offered by USADR.  All parties are advised to read USADR Rules of Procedure at the time of filing for further detail.  The Rules of Procedure are posted on our website at http://usadr.org/rules .
The first type of arbitration offered by USADR is Documentary Arbitration, which is designed for claims under $15,000.  There is a per party flat fee to include the administrative filing fee, documentary hearing, and a simple written award.  In addition to the arbitration submission agreement, each party may submit written and digital documentation that supports their claim at the time of filing.  It is customary to provide a copy of the signed contract, a statement of claim, other documents, and any digital photos or video that supports the claim.  The statement of claim should include a detailed chronology of the dispute, any steps taken to resolve the dispute such as a demand letter, mediation or other actions, and a dollar amount that the party wishes to be awarded along with supporting documentation such as receipts, estimates, etc.
The dispute is reviewed based on the documents provided by the parties.  A simple written award is delivered after a single arbitrator reviews the parties’ documentary evidence presented for the case.  The documentary evidence reviewed by the arbitrator should include:
1.       The signed arbitration submission agreement.  
2.       A Written statement of claim submitted by the claimant and the response to the claim submitted by the Respondent.  These statements and responses are a detailed chronology of the dispute from each party’s perspective, along with any attempts made to resolve the matter, and any relief sought by the parties, such as the specific dollar amount and other remedies sought to satisfy the claim.  Keep in mind that the arbitrator cannot grant relief that is not asked for, so be sure to ask for everything you want, including attorney’s fees, interest, etc. 
3.       A copy of the signed contract between the parties that includes the arbitration provision.
4.       Pictures, videos, and notarized witness statements that support the claim or response
5.       Other documents that lend weight to the claim or defense that should be considered by the arbitrator

The second form of arbitration offered by USADR is Arbitration by Teleconference, which has been designed for claims under $75,000. 
There is cost is a per party flat fee to include the administrative filing fee, a 3 hour teleconference hearing, and a simple written award.  If the teleconference exceeds 3 hours, an hourly rate is charge to each party for each hour block that exceeds the 3 hour limit.  In addition to the arbitration submission agreement, each party may submit written and digital documentation that supports their claim at the time of filing.  It is customary to provide a copy of the signed contract, a statement of claim, other documents, and any digital photos or video that supports the claim.  The statement of claim should include a detailed chronology of the dispute, any steps taken to resolve the dispute such as a demand letter, mediation or other actions, and a dollar amount that the party wishes to be awarded along with supporting documentation such as receipts, estimates, etc.
The dispute is heard by a single arbitrator based on the documents and oral arguments of the parties.  A simple written award is delivered.   The arbitrator will hear the presentation of the parties’ case, to include:

1.       The signed arbitration submission agreement.  
2.       A Written statement of claim submitted by the claimant and the response to the claim submitted by the Respondent.  These statements and responses are a detailed chronology of the dispute from each party’s perspective, along with any attempts made to resolve the matter, and any relief sought by the parties, such as the specific dollar amount and other remedies sought to satisfy the claim.  Keep in mind that the arbitrator cannot grant relief that is not asked for, so be sure to ask for everything you want, including attorney’s fees, interest, etc. 
3.       A Copy of the signed contract between the parties that includes the arbitration provision
4.       Pictures, videos, and notarized witness statements that support the claim and response
5.       Other documents that lend weight to the claim and that should be considered
6.       Oral argument by both parties and the presentation of their respective cases at the teleconference

The third type of arbitration offered by USADR is Standard Arbitration with a Physical Hearing, which is offered for claims that exceed $75,000. 

All costs are assessed to each party equally.  The administrative filing fee is paid at the time of filing the arbitration submission agreement.   Additional fees and arbitrator hourly rates apply. 
An initial pre-hearing teleconference is scheduled for the purpose of establishing procedures, setting dates, and resolving any pre-hearing disputes either by the decision of the arbitrator or joint agreement.  The teleconference is usually attended by the arbitrator, the parties and their representatives.   After the teleconference, a scheduling order is issued to the parties by the arbitrator which details the dates and decisions and establishes the amount of the hearing deposit.
All parties are given a full and fair hearing of their evidence and testimony at the physical hearing.  A simple award is rendered unless the parties jointly agree that they want a detailed, reasoned award.
The dispute is heard by a single arbitrator, unless all parties agree that they would like a panel of three arbitrators.  Additional fees apply for a panel of three.  The arbitrator or arbitrators base the decision and award on the documents and oral arguments of the parties.  A simple written award is delivered unless the parties unanimously request a detailed, reasoned award at the time of the filing.   The parties may present:

1.       A Written statement of claim submitted by the claimant and the response to the claim submitted by the Respondent.  These statements and responses are a detailed chronology of the dispute from each party’s perspective, along with any attempts made to resolve the matter, and any relief sought by the parties, such as the specific dollar amount and other remedies sought to satisfy the claim.  Keep in mind that the arbitrator cannot grant relief that is not asked for, so be sure to ask for everything you want, including attorney’s fees, interest, etc. 
2.       A Copy of the signed contract between the parties that includes the arbitration provision
3.       Pictures or videos that support the claim and response
4.       Presentation of witnesses or subpoenaed documents
5.       Other documents that lend weight to the claim and that should be considered
6.       Oral argument and presentation of the case at the physical hearing
United States Arbitration Association is confident that the tiered arbitration services more closely matches the needs of the parties when taking into consideration the cost/benefit analysis of the claim amount.  USADR welcomes your questions, and invites inquiries either addressed to our email  support@usadr.org or by calling us at 303-864-9674.  We take your dispute seriously and are committed to assisting you in gaining resolution so that you are free to get on with your life!

[1] (United States Code Title 9 Chapter 1).  http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/Title_09.txt