What Happens at the Final Hearing?
Although FINRA arbitration involves fewer procedural rules than a court proceeding, it still requires significant skill, knowledge, and training in order to be handled properly, albeit some different skills and knowledge than are necessary in a court trial. As such, even a skilled courtroom trial lawyer who has not handled a FINRA arbitration may not effectively conduct a FINRA final hearing.
In some respects, arbitration hearings are organized like normal trials. Testimony and documentary evidence is presented to the arbitrators through direct and cross-examinations of witnesses, and the lawyers argue about the conclusions to be drawn from the evidence. But the rules of evidence are looser, and arbitrators have discretion to consider things like hearsay.
Importantly, because parties are not permitted to take depositions during the discovery phase, lawyers in a FINRA final hearing must blindly cross-examine witnesses. They often must ask questions to which they do not know the answer, which is frowned upon in a courtroom trial.This is unfamiliar territory for lawyers who have not handled a FINRA case before. Doing so effectively requires that FINRA arbitration lawyers have know securities industry terminology and the types of documents and procedures that exist in the brokerage industry.
After the final hearing concludes the arbitrators have 30 days to issue their written decision, which will state whether you have won or lost your case and, if you won, how much money the brokerage firm must pay to you.
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Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein’s FINRA arbitration lawyers have represented hundreds of stockbroker negligence and Wall Street fraud victims. DKR has offices in Miami, Los Angeles, West Palm Beach, and New York and represents investors throughout the United States, and Latin America. Contact DKR for a free case evaluation.