A good background search on an arbitrator should include searches on the arbitrator's name in relevant databases of arbitration awards (see "Arbitration, Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution"). A full search would also include searching the arbitrator's name in relevant databases of (1) cases, (2) verdicts, (3) law review and law journal articles, (4) newspaper and magazine articles (5) trade journal articles and (6) pending law suits. In addition, check the Web and discussion groups for any postings. If possible, locate the arbitrator's Web site.
For securities arbitrators, also check for disciplinary actions on Lexis in the National Association of Securities Dealers Disciplinary Actions (FEDSEC;DISCIP) and the National Financial Institutions Abstracted Disciplinary Actions and Sanctions (FEDSEC;SANCTION) databases, as well as the FINRA (formerly NASD) Disciplinary Actions, starting June 1, 2001. If you have a subscription, also search ARBchek.
For labor arbitrators, the leading resource is the Arbitrators' Qualifications Reports, commonly known as "Simpson Sheets." The Sheets provide background information and evaluations of each arbitrator listed. The Sheets are published by the R.C. Simpson company in hard copy and through the company web site. You can either purchase an annual subscription or buy individual sheets after paying a small retainer.
Another leading source for labor arbitrator bios is the "Arbitrator Directory" of the Labor Arbitration Information System, which is included in the LAIS-ARB-BIO database on Westlaw. This includes data on how the arbitrator has ruled in past cases.
In addition, basic biographical information on labor arbitrators is published in the BNA Labor Relations Reporter Selected Arbitrators' Biographies, which is available in the BNA Labor and Employment Library (subscription only) and through Bloomberg Law.
Finally, Personnet arbitrator bios are available through Westlaw (ARB-BIO).
You can get statistics on how many cases the abitrator decided for management, the union or split from the LAIS Arbitrator Directory, as well as the Westlaw ARB-STAT database.
Ethics Rules: The American Arbitration Association posts The Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes. The American Bar Association posts the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators. The National Arbitrators Associations posts the NAA Code of Professional Responsibility and related Advisory Opinions. The FINRA has an "Oath of Arbitrator."