- Filing a Claim
- Choosing a Panel
- Discovery and Pre-Hearing Motions
- The Final Hearing
- Judgment Enforcement and Appeals
What to Expect in FINRA arbitration - Choosing a panel
By Sean Sweeney on February 06, 2016
The process of choosing a panel is likely the most important aspect of any claim, and also the area most shrouded in mystery and uncertainty. Each FINRA Arbitration panel is made up of three members, a chair person and two other panel members. Before a rule change in 2011, each panel was made up of a public chair person, a public arbitrator, and an industry arbitrator. While FINRA gives a more detailed definition here, basically an industry arbitrator is anyone that works or has worked in the Financial Services industry, and public arbitrators are anyone who has not. After the rule change, the parties are now free to eliminate all of the industry arbitrators if they so choose, and can thus have a panel with one public chairperson and two public arbitrators.
When it comes time to select the panel, shortly after filing of a claim, FINRA uses what it calls its Neutral List Selection System (NLSS) to generate random lists of arbitrators. The parties are sent a list of 30 arbitrators, 10 public chairpersons, 10 public arbitrators, and 10 industry arbitrators. The parties then secretly rank each category, striking up to four arbitrators from the first two lists (public chairpersons, and public) and striking up to all ten arbitrators from the industry list. The only information the parties are given about the arbitrators is a bit of biographical information and a list of cases they have served on as an arbitrator in the past.
At Halling & Cayo, S.C. we maintain a database of not just all of the awards for each of the arbitrators presented on our list, but also our impressions and opinions of arbitrators that we have had on panels in the past. While out of state lawyers can look-up the data on the arbitrators, we have had dozens of arbitrations right here in Wisconsin and often know many of the arbitrators on our lists from past arbitrations or simply from being a part of the legal community. For each case our lawyers go through the painstaking process of reviewing and analyzing each and every arbitrator to best determine how we can get the best possible panel for you case.
This series of posts will walk through each of the parts of the FINRA arbitration process:
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“At The Securities Lawyers, you get hands-on involvement from a partner level attorney. If I'm on your case, there will be associates and paralegals assisting, but I will be the one trying your case, negotiating settlements, and mediating your case.” Sean M. Sweeney