Same-Day Justice Program FAQ’s

What is the Same-Day Justice Program?

The Same-Day Justice Program is a dispute resolution service designed to give parties an efficient and affordable solution for resolution of their commercial disputes.  Parties who use the program will waive their right to go to court and agree instead to arbitrate their dispute before a private neutral arbitrator, who has binding authority to issue an award resolving the matter.

The arbitration hearing takes place in person, unless the parties agree otherwise.  The parties bring all their evidence (documents and witnesses) to the hearing for consideration by the arbitrator.  The parties may present their case in any manner they chose, whether by narrative or in question-and-answer format.  However, to streamline the process, one party does not question another party’s witnesses directly; only the arbitrator may do that, although parties can suggest questions for the arbitrator to ask the opposing side’s witnesses.

At the end of the session (half day or full day), the arbitrator issues a final decision, which is enforceable in court.

Who is the Arbitrator?

The Same-Day Justice Program is administered by Erik Groothuis, a Harvard-trained lawyer who is a partner at the law firm of Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP in New York City.  Mr. Groothuis has spent two decades practicing civil litigation, roughly half representing plaintiffs and half representing defendants.

The arbitrator will be Mr. Groothuis, Jonathan Mazer, or another highly-qualified attorney from the law firm of Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP.

Where does the Arbitration Take Place?

Unless the parties agree otherwise, the hearing will take place at the offices of Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP, 26 Broadway, New York, New York 10004 (19th floor).

Do I Really Get a Decision the Same Day?

Yes.  The arbitrator will issue a written award at the end of the day of the hearing.  If the parties want an explained decision, which provides the reasons for the award, they must pay an extra fee and the arbitrator will issue one within a week.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent Me?

No, although you are welcome to retain one.

What are the Fees?

As of October 2018, the fee schedule is as follows:

  • $2,500 per party for a half-day session
  • $5,000 per party for a full-day session
  • $500 per party additional fee for an explained decision (described below)

The fees are not refundable.  The Same-Day Justice Program will provide an arbitrator and a conference room with a large-screen TV that can connect to a laptop computer.  Any other arrangements (stenographers, interpreters, copying fees, witness travel expenses, etc.) must be made by the parties at their own expense.

What do I Bring to the Hearings?

The parties should bring the witnesses they want to testify and any documents or other evidence (photographs, written agreements, receipts, bills, invoices, communications, damaged items, etc.) they want the arbitrator to consider.  Parties may bring expert witnesses if the subject matter requires an expert’s knowledge.

The parties must be prepared to present their case within the time limits set for the arbitration.

Do the Parties Exchange Documents Before the Hearing?

Unless the arbitrator rules otherwise, the parties do not take “discovery” from each other as is done in most other legal proceedings (courts and arbitrations).

Here, the parties will exchange the documents and other evidence they intend to present at the hearing, along with a list of the witnesses they plan to have testify on their behalf, shortly before the hearing.

How Does the Hearing Work?

Each side gets a certain amount of time to present its case, based on the schedule in the Rules and Procedures.  The parties then get a shorter amount of time for rebuttal, after which the arbitrator asks questions and then renders a decision.  Here is the default schedule:


  • Claimant’s case: 60 minutes
  • Respondent’s case: 60 minutes
  • Break: 15 minutes
  • Claimant’s rebuttal: 15 minutes
  • Respondent’s rebuttal: 15 minutes
  • Arbitrator’s questions: 15 minutes
  • Arbitrator’s consideration and decision: 30 minutes


  • Claimant’s case: 105 minutes (1 hour and 45 minutes)
  • Break: 15 minutes
  • Respondent’s case: 105 minutes
  • Lunch break: 60 minutes
  • Claimant’s rebuttal: 45 minutes
  • Respondent’s rebuttal: 45 minutes
  • Break: 15 minutes
  • Arbitrator’s questions: 30 minutes
  • Arbitrator’s consideration and decision: 30 minutes

Do the Rules of Evidence Apply at the Hearing?

No.  The arbitrator will use discretion in deciding what evidence to admit and is not bound by the rules of evidence.  However, the arbitrator will respect principles of privilege (e.g., attorney-client communications will not be admitted absent an exception or waiver).

How is the Decision Rendered?

At the end of the hearing, the arbitrator will issue a written award directing the relief granted.  If the parties want an “explained” decision providing the reasons for the award, it is available for an additional fee.

Is the Award Enforceable in Court?

Yes. The parties agree to waive their rights to litigate in court in favor of arbitration under the auspices of the Same-Day Justice Program and not to contest the enforceability of the award.

How do I Know the Arbitrator is Impartial?

We take the arbitrator’s impartiality very seriously—the program cannot survive without it.

Both the parties and the arbitrator are required to disclose any facts or circumstances that might present a conflict for the arbitrator. All of the arbitrators, including Mr. Erik Groothuis, are highly-credentialed attorneys with many years of experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation.