To obtain an application for membership, please contact the membership committee chair at the address at the bottom of the page.

In considering applications for membership, the National Academy of Arbitrators will apply the following standards: (1) The applicant should be of good moral character, as demonstrated by adherence to sound ethical standards in professional activities.  (2)  The applicant should have substantial and current experience as an impartial arbitrator of labor-management disputes, so as to reflect general acceptability by the parties.  (3)  As an alternative to (2), the applicant with limited but current experience in arbitration should have attained general recognition through scholarly publication or other activities as an important authority on labor-management relations.  This Alternative Standard has been utilized by the Board of Governors only under exceptional circumstances.  It only applies to an individual who is a recognized, prominent authority in the field of labor-management relations.  Individuals may not self-nominate themselves under this Alternative Standard. Finally, there is also a so-called Veterans Procedure which is a membership application process that intends to attract established arbitrators to join the Academy by lessening the rigors of the standard application process. The Veterans’ Procedure is identical to the standard application process save for two (2) major differences. First, the applicant is not required to provide the first and last pages of awards and other decisions which qualify as “countable” cases or the supporting worksheets. Rather, she or he attests to having a sufficient caseload so as to meet our membership requirements. Second, the Veteran application must be supported by letters of reference from seven (7) current NAA members instead of three (3) NAA member references. In most cases, these seven members should be from the same region as the applicant. References from management and union representatives are still required.  Who qualifies as a Veteran? (a) A Veteran is an individual who (1) has been an arbitrator for a substantial number of years, and (2) would without question meet our membership standards. Both criteria must be met. In that regard, the mere fact that an individual has a longstanding practice is, itself, not sufficient to qualify under the Veterans’ Procedure. (b) In accord with our by-laws, a potential candidate must be of good moral character and must have substantial and current experience as an impartial arbitrator of labor-management disputes so as to reflect general acceptability by the parties.

The Board of Governors considers the standard of “substantial and current experience so as to reflect general acceptability” in the Statement of Membership Policy to mean that, as a threshold requirement for consideration of the application, the applicant must demonstrate at least five years of arbitration experience and a minimum of 60 written decisions in a time period not to exceed six years, at least 40 of which must be “countable labor-management arbitration awards.”  Up to 20 decisions in the field of workplace disputes resolution (including, for example, advisory arbitration, fact-finding, and teacher tenure and civil service cases under statutes or rules closely analogous to traditional arbitration) shall be countable in accordance with the standards established by the Board of Governors.  No more than 10 countable workplace disputes resolution decisions shall involve employment arbitration pursuant to an individual contract, handbook, or other agreement between an employer and an employee who is not represented by a labor organization.

Railroad cases:  Each certificate of appointment to a Section 3 tribunal (NRAB, SBA, or PLB) under the Railway Labor Act issued by the National Mediation Board accompanied by one issued and adopted award will be considered as one countable “workplace” dispute resolution decision.  For counting purposes, the operative date is that of the fully executed award.  Privately funded protection decisions are countable labor-management awards on a one-for-one basis.

The arbitrator’s caseload should reflect a diversity of parties and professional growth during the five year period. Meeting the above threshold for consideration of the application is not a guarantee of admission.  The applicant must demonstrate that they meet the standard of general acceptability for admission.


All applicants must acknowledge an understanding that membership will not be conferred on those who serve partisan interests as advocates or consultants for Labor or Management in labor-management relations or who are associated with or are members of a firm that performs such advocacy or consultancy work. Moreover, applicants must affirm that, if elected to membership, they may not undertake thereafter to serve partisan interests as advocates or consultants for Labor or Management in labor-management relations or become associated with or become members of a firm that performs such advocacy or consultancy work.

To request an application, or seek assistance in the application process, please email the Chair of the Membership Committee:

Howell L. Lankford
PO Box 22331
Portland, OR  97269

Office: 503-349-3842

If you have general inquiries about the National Academy of Arbitrators, please contact:
NAA Operations Center
1 N Main Street, Suite 412
Cortland, NY 13045

Tel:  (607) 756-8363