Arbitrators must have excellent verbal and writing skills in order to communicate with parties to a dispute. Strong listening and interpersonal skills are also important, as is the ability to negotiate effectively. Analytical abilities and critical thinking are other skills needed for the role, since it is important to logically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the cases presented. Sound judgment is required to determine the appropriate action to take. An ability to persuade others is a highly desirable attribute to have in this position.
Some arbitrator roles require a law degree, but many do not. Most, however, do require a bachelor's degree. Degrees in public policy, political science, business and social work are advantageous in preparing for this career. Courses in psychology, consumer law and public speaking would also be beneficial. Fluency in a second language is helpful, especially for those who intend to pursue work in international arbitration. Master's level degrees in conflict resolution and arbitration are offered by numerous universities, and specialized training is provided by a number of professional associations. Licensure is required in some jurisdictions.