To maximize the efficient administration of a case by the panel, FINRA schedules an Initial Prehearing Conference (IPHC). The IPHC will normally be held by telephone.
FINRA will notify the parties and arbitrators of the date and time of the IPHC at least 20-days prior to the phone conference. At the conference, the panel will schedule evidentiary hearing dates; set discovery, briefing, and motions deadlines; and, address other preliminary matters.
Proper preparation requires that arbitrators review all filed claims, answers, specific motions and responsive papers prior to the conference. Arbitrators will also review the Codes of Arbitration Procedure and FINRA procedural guidelines before the conference.
Sometimes the parties may wish to opt out of the conference. This is permitted if they jointly provide the FINRA Director with the following information:
- A statement that the parties accept the arbitration panel;
- A statement concerning whether any other prehearing conferences will be held and if so, for each prehearing conference, a minimum of four mutually agreeable dates and times, and whether the chairperson or the full panel will preside;
- A minimum of four sets of mutually agreeable regular hearing dates;
- A discovery schedule;
- A list of all anticipated motions, with filing, response and reply due dates; and
- A determination of whether briefs will be submitted and if so, the due dates for the briefs and any reply briefs.
About the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator. He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment. He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.
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