By Mary Ann Hanke, Fall 2016 Student Intern
The arbitration hearing is the pinnacle step in this process. After a filing a statement of claim, everything you have done has been in preparation of this hearing. You have your arbitrator, you have gone through discovery, and your case is ready.
First, FINRA will choose a location for the hearing. In your statement of claim, you likely requested a certain location based on where you lived at the time the conduct you allege took place. FINRA will likely grant your request, unless the location you’ve chosen is clearly different from where the conduct originated. They may look at other factors or weigh other considerations in making the final decision.
Once you get to the hearing, you now have the chance to present your case to the arbitrator. You will likely go through the following order of events:
- Swearing in of arbitrators and parties
- Opening statements
- Presentation of Claimant’s facts
- Presentation of Respondent’s facts
- Rebuttal evidence
- Closing statements
- Arbitrator closes the record
During the presentation of the evidence, each party has the opportunity to call witnesses, conduct direct examinations, and cross-examine the opponent’s witnesses. You may also offer any exhibits (documents discovered while preparing for the statement of claim or during the discovery process) that you want the arbitrator to see before he or she makes the final decision.
Just like in a trial, each party also has the opportunity to make closing statements. These should persuasively summarize the facts of the case and finalize the argument you want the arbitrator to remember as he or she deliberates.
What’s next? The Award…