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Start your career as a labor arbitrator

Unions and employers agree that there is a shortage of qualified labor/management arbitrators. This has created a growing demand for a new generation of arbitrators who reflect the diversity of today’s workforce. The Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at Cornell ILR has developed a unique program for those interested in a career as a labor/management arbitrator. The Program will include the exploration and identification of career pathways and opportunities as aspiring and emerging neutrals embark on building their conflict resolution practices.  

The Program offers students:

  • The opportunity to learn from and be mentored by world-class faculty in the field of labor/management arbitration, and America's leading arbitrators.
  • In-depth field experience through the observation of hearings conducted by established arbitrators.
  • Award writing instruction and multiple opportunities for feedback on draft awards provided by Program faculty.
  • Development of the arbitration process skills needed to become a qualified arbitrator for employment disputes.
  • Instruction and individualized assistance in developing a conflict resolution career plan.

Who Should Attend

This Program is ideal for professionals who are looking to transition to a career as a labor arbitrator.

  • Labor and management attorneys  
  • Union representatives  
  • Human resource professionals
  • Other professionals who seek to transition into the practice of labor arbitration 
  • Students of diverse demographic backgrounds are encouraged to apply

Program Structure

  • 15-month cohort program
  • 13 days of in-person classes in NYC and Washington, DC: 
    • October 2023, NYC
    • Spring 2024, Washington, DC
    • Fall 2024, NYC
  • Virtual  Asynchronous: Assignments  to be completed in advance of each session
  • Virtual Synchronous sessions: Held on Sundays 3:00 PM- 5:00 PM
  • Individualized coaching and mentoring with virtual cohort check-in discussions 
  • Opportunities to shadow established arbitrators and receive feedback on draft awards

Key Program Dates

  • June 22, 2023:  Application Deadline
    (Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning in January 2023)
  • Summer 2023: Virtual pre-work will begin
  • October 2023: In-person classes begin

Submit your application

front of ILR NYC office at 570 Lexington

Program Topics

Virtual Classes:

Ethics & Virtual Hearings:
Asynchronous assignments; 2-hour synchronous session

Participants will complete asynchronous assignments related to ethics and review materials on virtual hearings. The synchronous session will include an overview of virtual hearings as well as ethics hypotheticals.

Just Cause Part II – Discussion of Disciplinary Cases & Writing Awards:
Asynchronous assignments; 2-hour synchronous session
Participants will complete asynchronous readings and review materials related to drafting awards. During the two-hour synchronous session, participants will be provided with an assignment and deadline to prepare their second draft award at the end of the session.  Post-session, the writing instructor will review and provide written and verbal feedback on the draft awards submitted in individual meetings with participants. 

Building Your Network and Professional Reputation Part II: 
Asynchronous assignments; 2-hour synchronous session
Participants will complete asynchronous assignments, including readings specific to developing effective mentoring relationships.  The instructors will lead a discussion on the role of relationships in building an arbitration practice, best practices, and opportunities in working with established arbitrators and introduce the expectations for the shadowing program component.

Analysis and Use of Past Practice in Decision-Making:
Asynchronous assignments; 2-hour synchronous session
Participants will complete asynchronous assignments, including Mittenthal articles and reviewing exemplar awards.  The instructor will lead the discussion utilizing hypotheticals during the synchronous session.

Nuts & Bolts of Building a Conflict Resolution Practice:
Asynchronous assignments; 2-hour synchronous session
Participants will complete asynchronous assignments in preparation for the virtual session.  The synchronous discussion will focus on the nature of self-employment and setting up a business, including issues such as setting fees, confirming dates, invoicing, collections, corporate organizational status, office logistics and software, websites, and other considerations.

Decision-Making and Implicit Bias: 
Asynchronous assignments; 2-hour synchronous session
Participants will complete asynchronous assignments related to recognizing and addressing implicit bias.  The instructor will lead the discussion utilizing exercises designed to increase awareness and address implicit bias in decision-making.


In-Person Classes:

Introduction to Labor Arbitration: 
Fall 2023; 5 Days, NYC

This intensive course provides context to the role of the arbitrator within the labor-management relationship and the workplace dispute resolution continuum as well as the ethical responsibilities of the arbitrator and guidance on enhancing networks and building a practice.  Learn the fundamentals of arbitration, including evidence, contract language interpretation, just cause, conducting a hearing, and drafting labor arbitration awards.  

Public Sector Dispute Resolution:
Spring 2024; 2 Days, Washington, D.C

This training will examine labor arbitration and the work of impartial hearing officers in the public sector, including state/local and federal sectors. There will be an examination and discussion of considerations in arbitrating public sector discipline and an overview of interest arbitration.

Introduction to Workplace Mediation:
Spring 2024; 2 Days, Washington, D.C

This session focuses on mediation simulations, allowing the participants to participate in mock mediations resolving labor and workplace disputes after completing asynchronous coursework in preparation for the exercises.

Practicum & Advanced Topics in Labor Arbitration:
Fall 2024; 5 Days, NYC

Throughout the week, participants will have the opportunity to observe and take part in simulations, award writing, and feedback sessions with both their cohort colleagues, as well as established neutrals and advocates in the field.


Virtual and In-Person:

Shadowing and Coaching Check-in Discussions:
Provides in-depth field experience through observing hearings conducted by established arbitrators. Students write draft awards and will receive personal feedback from the program's participating arbitrators.  Participants will also have four individual meetings with Scheinman faculty as they develop their Conflict Resolution Career Plan.

Diversity Initiative Supported

Four people affiliated with ILR helped foster a $750,000 grant supporting the Ray Corollary Initiative's mission to increase diversity within the alternative dispute resolution profession.
Ives Hall Cupola
Diversity Initiative Supported


Before attending The Labor Arbitrator Development Program, I was struggling to become a Labor Arbitrator. In this Program, I was trained by the Nation’s leaders in the field of labor arbitration. Because of this educational experience, I have been able to successfully navigate the transition from advocate to neutral. Since completing the Program, I have been placed on several arbitration panels. I highly recommend the program.
Michael Eagleson
Michael Eagleson
Graduating from the Cornell University ILR School, Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution’s Labor Arbitrator Development Program enabled me to set aside my service as an advocate in the field of labor and employment law and take my post as a full-time neutral. Listing the same on my neutral resume provided the gravitas necessary to demonstrate my commitment as an arbitrator and mediator.
Julie Torrey, Esq.
J Torrey headshot
I was fortunate to be a member of the Scheinman Institute’s Labor Arbitrator Development Program Second Cohort and began taking classes in Fall 2011. The program was essential in helping me create a path to transition from advocacy to a full-time conflict resolution practice and in providing me access to training and mentors to prepare me for the role of labor arbitrator. In addition, the relationships developed with other cohort members, program faculty, and mentors were and continue to be invaluable.
Sara Espinosa Miller
S Espinosa Miller 2022 headshot
The Scheinman Institute’s arbitrator development program is what I expected from Cornell’s ILR. However, what set the program apart is the cohort of professionals I studied with. The program provided the environment to collaborate and learn as a group. The bond we formed has been the difference in my practice because there is this well of knowledge from which we all add to, and we all utilize as we arbitrate.
Mike Ricci
ILR logo


  • Labor Arbitrator and Mediator

Sarah Miller Espinosa, J.D., is a labor arbitrator, mediator, and organizational ombuds.

  • Director Labor-Management Relations Programs, Public Sector
  • Labor Arbitrator and Mediator

Ellen Gallin Procida is a member of the American Arbitration Labor Panel, the New York State 3020-a Panel, and other permanent panels. Ms.

  • Director of Conflict Programs
  • Scheinman Institute, ILR
She is the Director of Conflict Programs for the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at the Cornell University ILR School.

  • Instructor, Arbitrator and Mediator

Jeanne Charles is an arbitrator and mediator of workplace and commercial disputes. In addition, she was appointed by President Joseph R.

  • Instructor, Arbitrator and Mediator

Martin F. Scheinman, Esq. is the founder of Scheinman Arbitration and Mediation Services.

  • Instructor, Arbitrator and Mediator

Jay M. Siegel is a full-time labor arbitrator and mediator with over thirty years of
labor and employment law experience. Arbitrator Siegel started his arbitration and

  • Instructor, Arbitrator and Mediator

Alan Symonette has been a full-time labor and employment arbitrator since 1988. He is also the president and owner of Symonette ADR Services, Inc.

  • Instructor, Arbitrator and Mediator

Timothy S. Taylor, Esq., is a full-time arbitrator and mediator, and immediate-past chair of the NYSBA Labor and Employment Section.

  • Senior Extension Associate, Labor Relations Programs

Cheryl Teare brings twenty years of experience designing and delivering training and skill development to leaders in labor.

  • Instructor, Arbitrator and Mediator

Julie A. Torrey, Esq. has been a full-time arbitrator and mediator with Scheinman Arbitration & Mediation Services and J.

Tuition and Fees

A non-refundable $150.00 application fee is required for each application.

Tuition for the program is $25,000. Payment plans can be arranged upon enrollment.

Financial assistance of varying levels will be available.

To learn more about tuition, financial assistance or any other questions about the program, please send us a request for more information.