Arbitration is similar to a mini trial with relaxed rules of evidence and a shorter, more informal hearing in front of either a solo arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators. Arbitrators are professionals with expertise in the subject matter of the case or attorneys, both of whom have additional training in arbitration.

Parties may outline their case, present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and give a brief closing argument in a relaxed, informal setting. After the parties retire, the arbitrator(s) will consider the evidence and give an award. After the award is entered, if desired, the arbitrators will discuss with the parties the reasons why they arrived at such an award. This gives parties and their attorneys a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of their case.

The process is confidential and any party dissatisfied with the award may reject it and request trial within 30 days of the arbitration hearing, unless the parties agree to make the award binding. Non-binding arbitration decisions are often incorporated into settlement agreements.