Tracy Stoneman - Stoneman Law
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Who are the Arbitrators?

You could maybe be an arbitrator. FINRA has more than 7,200 arbitrators on its roster and is attempting to expand the depth and diversity of the roster by recruiting candidates to serve from a variety of cultural backgrounds and areas of professional expertise, such as business, account, finance, library sciences, liberal arts, legal, and more. An arbitrator does not need to have arbitration or securities-related experience, although many do. Arbitrators are not employed by FINRA. You only need at least five years of paid business and/or professional experience—inside or outside of the securities industry—and at least two years of college-level credits. Sign up by clicking this link: https://www.finra.org/arbitration-and-mediation/apply-now The reality is that the majority of the FINRA arbitrator roster is comprised of older white men, many who have served on dozens of arbitration panels and are jaded and anesthetized to seeing brokerage firm wrongdoing. The more the FINRA arbitrator roster pool can be enlarged to include younger people, women, minorities and folks from all walks of professional life, the better.

As of 2011, investors can now choose to have an all public panel. This is a fabulous victory for investors, because prior to that, there was always an industry arbitrator on every panel. An industry arbitrator is someone tied to the brokerage industry. An all-public panel means that the arbitrators are neither associated with nor employed by a broker/dealer or securities industry organization.

Once a securities arbitration claim is filed, the parties go through a process whereby they select the arbitrators to preside over the case. FINRA sends each party a list of some 30 arbitrators, along with their background and all of their prior arbitration awards. One of the most time-consuming aspects of handling a securities arbitration case is vetting the arbitrators. It is necessary to not only review the arbitrators’ prior awards but to also contact lawyers who have recently appeared before the arbitrators. Great insight can be gleaned by other lawyer’s perceptions and experience with a particular arbitrator. The parties are given a certain number of strikes, meaning that they can exclude or X out an arbitrator for any reason. They then rank the remaining arbitrators. The system is designed such that a three-member panel should be able to be constituted from the parties’ respective rankings. The parties do not share their rankings with each other; they are sent to FINRA and three arbitrators are chosen based on the parties’ rankings. One of the arbitrators will be the Chairman.

Occasionally, events occur that require the removal of an arbitrator. I represented a client in an arbitration in Dallas, Texas many years ago where one of the arbitrators kept evidencing his brokerage industry bias through questions to my expert witness. It got so bad that I requested the arbitrator withdraw himself and that the hearing be adjourned until a replacement arbitrator could be appointed. The arbitrator refused and so I asked the other panel members to give their input. After consulting, they came back and said that they agreed that the arbitrator should recuse himself. Upon hearing this, the other arbitrator reluctantly agreed to recuse himself.

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Client Reviews
★★★★★
If you suspect securities or brokerage fraud against your hard-earned investments and need an advocate, call Tracy Pride Stoneman - NOW! I was a victim of churning, improper sale of unsuitable private placements, compliance violations, and more. I blamed myself at first and didn't think I had a case, but I was referred to Tracy after another lawyer balked, thinking all was lost. She took the emotion out of it, got down to the facts, made the case, and in hands-on fashion worked hard for the best result possible. She's an excellent communicator and the kind of experienced securities arbitration lawyer you need in your corner. Ms. Stoneman achieved a settlement for me that far exceeded expectations. She has my highest recommendation.
★★★★★
Tracy was a wonderful lawyer in my and my husband's huge case against Prudential Securities. She was relentless in going after the stockbroker and firm, determined to obtain all of the documents that helped our case and hurt theirs (that's why the firm didn't want to produce them!). No matter what curve ball the brokerage firm threw, Tracy came up with an angle to overcome it. My husband always commented how smart Tracy was in handling our case. Throughout it all, Tracy was extremely cheerful and easy to work with - unlike most lawyers I know! Carolyn W.
★★★★★
I think that you did a great job for the Tylers, and I believe you are one of the most organized and effective attorneys I have worked with. John B.