Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Arbitration has moved into its new home.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | September 2, 2010

No. 503

PHOTO: Anna and Brian work in their new office at 702 City County Building. Arbitration begins in the new location on September 7.


After years on the Fifth Floor of the historic Allegheny County Court House, the Arbitration division is finally moving in with the rest of the Civil Division.  The new assembly room is located on the Seventh Floor, to the left of the Jury Room.  A cluster of former courtrooms and judge’s chambers in the southwest corner of the building have been reorganized for this purpose and they look pretty good.

Everyone has known for a long time that the old hearing rooms were too small. Under the Constitution, courts are open to anyone who wishes to observe.  However, the old rooms frequently could barely accommodate the witnesses.  And, frankly, they didn’t exactly look like a courtroom.  The new ones have the look and feel of a courtroom –partly because they still are.  Although the arbitrators’ hearing table remains, the raised dais has not been removed and the room could be converted back to a courtroom in about 5 minutes.

Its also great to avoid the morning security check at the old courthouse. Because this building houses the criminal courts, the magnetic machine is turned way up and the guards want you to remove belts, coats and sometimes shoes.  This ritual was particularly annoying when the line to go through security extended down the steps and even the sidewalk at times.  During some frustrating Winter days, the line never moved because police and court personnel, who go the head of the line, would take up all of the machine time.  They once confiscated an eyebrow tweezer from a lawyer on her way to the arbitration room.

While the City-County Building has security,too, it doesn’t house the criminal or family divisions — the places where electronic searches are more serious.  Veterans of both venues insist that security for the Family Division, located in the old jail, collect the most weapons of all.

So, goodbye to all that!  Life can only get better.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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