Kat Bellamano teaches the accredited arbitration training course at Kompass Professional Development. She has been working in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for 17 years.
Across many industries, mediation and arbitration are emerging as a preferred and highly effective alternatives to litigation. From business disputes to divorce settlements, people are turning to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a more flexible, less costly, and more time-effective means of resolving conflicts.
Kat Bellamano is a certified ADR expert who has worked in the field for 17 years. She has extensive experience in both mediation and arbitration, with a strong focus on supporting families, groups, and at-risk populations with complex challenges.
Kat is also a seasoned educator. She delivers training programs for mediation, arbitration, and conflict resolution skills -- including the accredited arbitration training from Kompass Professional Development.
This week, we interviewed Kat to give readers an inside look at the arbitration course, what to expect in class, and some helpful information on certification and careers.
If you have questions about our arbitration training, you will find the answer here. Let's get started.
Q: Kat, can you share a bit about your education and background in alternative dispute resolution?
Kat: I’ve been working with people in conflict for about 17 years. I have a Bachelor of Social Work and am almost finished a Master of Social Work with a clinical specialization.
In 2003, I completed my Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Management and my Certificate in Family Mediation from the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Management with an emphasis on conflict in organizations and group facilitation Skills.
I have a Certificate in Arbitration from ADRBC (formerly BCAMI). I am a Chartered Mediator and Chartered Arbitrator with ADR Canada, and a certified Comprehensive Family Mediator. I am on the rosters of Mediate BC, the BC Hear the Child Society, and the BC Parenting Coordinator Roster Society.
I provide parenting coordination, mediation, arbitration, med-arb, circles, restorative justice, assessment, coaching and facilitation; always with an emphasis on relationship building and working across differences.
My main area of focus is working with families and groups with complex circumstances such as high conflict, trauma or mental health challenges, addiction, involvement with the legal system, or intercultural issues.
I provide the full range of my services by distance and have for years. I also design and provide training on mediation, arbitration, and conflict resolution skills, distance and technology-based practice, trauma-informed practice, sexualized violence prevention, and family violence screening.
Q: How long have you been teaching the accredited arbitration training at Kompass?
Kat: I started teaching the mediation course at Kompass in October of last year. In April of this year, I began teaching Introduction to Arbitration. I’m teaching my third arbitration course at Kompass right now.
Q: What professional backgrounds do your students come from? Who takes this course?
Kat: Our learners have diverse backgrounds. Many are lawyers or law students, but others work in business, for community organizations, or in the nonprofit sector. This diversity makes for a richer learning environment.
Q: What are the most important skills you teach in this course?
Kat: The skills we focus on in the introduction course are holding an effective pre-hearing conference and writing an arbitration award. We also focus on the history of arbitration, different types of arbitration, and the pros and cons of arbitration among the range of dispute resolution options.
Q: What kinds of assignments and role-plays do students do in your class?
Kat: The first thing I do is ask class participants to post an introduction. In ARB100 participants do two discussion posts and responses. The topics are benefits and risks of med-arb and an analysis comparing and contrasting arbitration with going to court.
The course assignment is writing an arbitration award. The role-plays in my introduction course are pre-hearing conferences and doing the beginning of an arbitration hearing. The remaining courses prepare students to conduct a full arbitration.
Q: The arbitration course is entirely online. How do you stay connected to students throughout the training?
Kat: Both the course lectures and role-plays are done via Zoom videoconferencing. We also communicate by email and through the announcements and chats on the course website.
Q: Why is it important to take an arbitration course that’s accredited by the ADR Institute of Canada?
Kat: Completing arbitration training that has been recognized by the ADR Institute of Canada (ADRIC) streamlines the process for acquiring the Q. Arb and C. Arb certification, which are nationally recognized accreditations.
Q: How do new arbitrators find work or attract their first clients?
Kat: It's very important to build relationships with other professionals who may refer clients to you. Many arbitrators work within a specific area of specialization such as insurance or construction, and professionals and organizations within those fields are a referral source.
Once you become a member of ADRIC and their regional affiliate in the province where you practise, you may wish to apply for special arbitration rosters they maintain. ADRIC and the regional affiliates also provide members with information about available postings and vacancies.
Q: What are the most common areas of practice for arbitrators?
Kat: I would say that business or commercial arbitration is the most well-known, including international commercial arbitration. Family arbitration has also developed and expanded greatly in many jurisdictions.
Q: Arbitration versus mediation: what should students consider when deciding between these two career paths?
Kat: I don’t think a practitioner has to decide between the two. Many, including myself, do both. Mediation and arbitration are part of the range of dispute resolution options available to people and groups who are managing disputes. So many practitioners like to have a number of different tools in their toolbox to meet those needs.
It is certainly easier to start in one of those areas of practice and then add the other as you develop your skills and experience.
If someone is trying to decide which process is a better fit for them, it may be helpful to consider that mediation generally emphasizes supporting parties to decide their own outcome based on what is best in their specific circumstances.
On the other hand, arbitration generally ensures that there will be a binding outcome that is determined based on the rules of natural justice.
Q: Is it true that remote arbitration is becoming a major trend, particularly in the wake of COVID-19 and social distancing measures?
Kat: COVID-19 has certainly accelerated the movement toward remote arbitration and mediation. There is a growing trend of arbitrating and mediating disputes by distance.
For example, parties who live far apart geographically, or where violence power imbalance is a concern, are opting for remote proceedings.
The public is becoming better educated on available ADR services, and practitioners are benefiting from better tools and training. On the whole, we’re seeing increasing demand for mediation and arbitration, both in person and online.
Have more questions about arbitration training?
If you're interested in learning more about the accredited arbitration training offered at Kompass, we recommend speaking with an admissions advisor.
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