*View Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Stanley P. Sklar, who earned a reputation in the legal community as one of the pre-eminent construction law practitioners, has been named Executive Director of Arbitration Studies at the DePaul University College of Law’s Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR). He recently retired from the private practice of law on December 31, 2008. Sklar introduced alternative dispute resolution methods to the practices of construction and real estate law. As Executive Director he will draw on his unique skills to create an educational forum within CDR that addresses current issues in the commercial arbitration field.

Arbitration is a process that does not involve the courts. Parties engaged in a dispute agree to submit to one or more intermediaries—called arbitrators—who make a binding decision on the dispute. Historically, arbitration was the accepted method for resolving commercial disputes in many major industries including, construction, insurance, energy and franchising. It also has been used to settle contract disputes in the United States and abroad.

However, it can diminish efficiency and become costly when lawyers attempt to apply the usual litigation methods to the arbitration process. Since companies and industries are less likely to use arbitration as the default method of dispute resolution if lawyers cannot capably navigate the system because their skills are more in line with litigation, Sklar will assist attorneys in the development of the skills necessary to be efficient advocates and arbitrators, which in turn will make the arbitration process more cost effective to businesses.

"The popularity of arbitration has attracted the interest of traditionally trained lawyers who would otherwise use the conventional court system to resolve disputes," said Glen Weissenberger, dean of the College of Law. "We are honored that Stan Sklar has accepted this appointment because his extensive experience in the field of arbitration, and has contribution to arbitration education programs will be valuable assets in helping CDR provide more lawyers with the tools they need to competently solve disputes through the arbitration process."

A 1964 graduate of Northwestern University Law School, Sklar has arbitrated domestic and international cases for more than 35 years and has written and lectured extensively on the effective use of arbitration techniques. Listed in the "International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers," Sklar has successfully executed all key roles in the alternative dispute resolution process including, arbitrator, mediator, advocate and expert witness. He has chaired and participated in numerous panels for construction cases concerning delay or construction defects claims in excess of several million dollars as well as disputes relating to real estate transactions. In 2004, Sklar received the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Construction Industry Cornerstone Award for his outstanding contributions to the construction industry.

Among his many affiliations in the area of alternative dispute resolution, Sklar is a certified mediator and arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and a member of its National Panel for Large Complex Commercial Disputes as well as being a member of the AAA Panel for International Disputes. He is also a member of the CPR List of Distinguished Neutrals and a Certified Mediator for the International Mediation Institute. He is currently President of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, an invitation-only group of commercial arbitrators.

"The arbitration process is one that I find to be highly practical in bringing commercial disputes to a conclusion in an expeditious, efficient and most importantly cost effective manner," said Sklar. "I look forward to helping attorneys put alternative dispute methods to good use in their practice of law."