About FINRA Arbitrators

 Arbritration  Comments Off on About FINRA Arbitrators
Nov 152016
 
FINRA

FINRA

FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity

FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of the securities industry. FINRA is not part of the government. It is an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America’s investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly.

Its independent regulation plays a critical role in America’s financial system—by enforcing high ethical standards, bringing the necessary resources and expertise to regulation and enhancing investor safeguards and market integrity—all at no cost to taxpayers.

Its mission is to safeguard the investing public against fraud and bad practices. They pursue that mission by writing and enforcing rules and regulations for every single brokerage firm and broker in the United States, and by examining broker-dealers for compliance with our own rules, federal securities laws and rules of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

All brokers must be licensed and registered by FINRA, pass their qualification exams and satisfy continuing education requirements.

It recruits, trains and manages a roster of arbitrators

FINRA recruits, trains and manages a roster of arbitrators. It selects arbitrators from a diverse cross-section of professionals. I am privileged to have been one of those selected. The arbitrators are available to arbitrate cases in over 70 hearing locations in the US, including one in Puerto Rico and one in London, UK.

It pledges to provide impartial, knowledgeable and courteous staff and highly trained arbitrators committed to delivering fair, expeditious and cost-effective dispute resolution services for investors, brokerage firms and their employees.

Finally, I, as an arbitrator am an independent contractor, not employee of FINRA.

Ken_Strongman_003smAbout 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.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

The best way for a legal professional to set up a Twitter Account

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on The best way for a legal professional to set up a Twitter Account
Oct 042016
 

account

Twitter account for lawyers

A Twitter Account is only one aspect of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

The best way for a legal professional to set up a Twitter Account:

Setting up Your Twitter Account
• Go to www.twitter.com
• Select: New To Twitter? Join Today!
• Fill in your actual name (or firm Name).
• Fill in the email address you are going to associate with twitter.
• Create a twitter username. The @ symbol will be added latter. Though you can change your user name latter, it will be confusing to any followers. Make it descriptive of yourself (or firm). Mine is kpstrongman. Make it as short as possible so that it is easily remembered and easily use to retweet. My full name is Kenneth Paul Strongman so kpstrongman is pretty short for me as opposed to Kenneth_Paul_Strongman. That would consume 22 characters. Twitter will also search to make sure that the username you selected is not in use by some one else.
• Hit: Create My Account.

Don’t Follow

Don’t follow any one yet. Twitter will start walking you through a few steps to find your friends on twitter and suggest other people you might want to follow. Since anyone that you follow will receive an email from you, they will often check you out to see if you are interesting enough to be followed by them. Without a compelling/interesting profile they will then ignore you. First impressions count on twitter as in real non-virtual life.

I will continue with the next steps in subsequent posts.

 

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout 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.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

To a Lawyer, what is a tweet? i.e. a definition for an attorney.

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on To a Lawyer, what is a tweet? i.e. a definition for an attorney.
Aug 232016
 

definition of a tweet

definition of a tweet

Lawyers need to understand the basic definition of a tweet. Twitter is only one aspect of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

What is a Tweet?

A tweet is 140 characters long. This is the bane of the legal community and any one that appreciates proper English, although a tweet can be in any language. We in the legal community have a tendency to be verbose. We want to add a lot of wherefore’s and whereas’ to clarify what we are trying to communicate. You can’t do that in 140 characters. About the only thing you can communicate is a headline. Good grammar goes down the drain. If you start to think in headlines you will start to get the hang of Twitter.

Here’s the real limit. A space is a character. A period is a character. So a period and two spaces between two sentences is a total of three characters. A special character is also a character. So that quote marks and apostrophes count towards the 140 limit.

This be comes problematic when you want, and you do want, to link to a website. Website addresses are long by their very nature. They, without difficulty will push you over the 140 limit. Services have developed to help circumvent this problem by shortening a URL. The added advantage is that they will also track how many times the link on your tweet is accessed.

You also do not want to use all 140 characters for your tweet because it will limit the ability of someone to retweet your tweet. We will deal with retweeting later.

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout 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.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

FAQ: Are Retired Judges Better Mediators?

 Arbritration, FAQ, Mediation  Comments Off on FAQ: Are Retired Judges Better Mediators?
Aug 092016
 

Stinson Beach, Dip Sea Trail, CP XC Team

FAQ: Are Retired Judges Better Mediators?

It is assumed that a retired judge makes a better mediator than someone that has not been a judge.  This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Rendering judgment requires an entirely different skill set than helping the parties resolve their case through mediation.  The day to day activities of a judge do not lend themselves to facilitating the resolution of conflicts.  The basic skill that is useful to a judge but not a mediator is the ability to make quick and final decisions on any particular issue. Therefore when they approach mediation they want to make the decision and not let the parties control their own solution to the problem.

It is assumed that 20-years on the bench translates to 20-years experience working with civil attorneys and parties and the issues of civil litigation.  In most courts today, very few judges are presiding over civil trials.  Most of their days as spent presiding over criminal trials.  Even the remaining time of their tenure on the bench is divided between family law, juvenile, probate, and traffic.

The law practice of most judges before being appointed to the bench is not as a civil attorney.  Many were deputy district attorneys or public defenders before becoming judges.  Therefore they have no experience with any civil issues before becoming judges.

Mediation is a voluntary process that centers on discussions and decision-making, rather than judgment by a judge or retired judge. It is focused on resolving disputes based on the factual circumstances, the needs of the parties and practicality, and not solely on the legal rights of the parties. Often, the mere presence of a retired judge creates an antagonistic and adversarial atmosphere that impedes resolution rather than assisting it.

 In reality you want a mediator such as me that is trained in helping the parties resolve their problems.

Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout 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.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Lawyer beware: twitter is transmitting more than 140 characters.

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Lawyer beware: twitter is transmitting more than 140 characters.
Jul 052016
 

transmitting

Transmitting 140 Plus

Twitter is only one aspect of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

What is Twitter transmitting in one tweet?

What is a tweet transmitting beyond the 140 characters? A tweet is filled with metadata – information about when it was sent, by whom, using what Twitter application. Here are a few examples of what is currently in the metadata:
• Tweets creation date
• Author’s user name, screen name and biography
• Author’s location – currently the author must turn this on
• Creation date of the account
• Number of followers and number of those they are following
• Time zone of author

This is not an exhaustive list. More metadata is coming as well. Third party developers can add their own. To do more current research on what a tweet contains, you can Google “Diagram of a Tweet.”

Once you see that a tweet is a lot more than 140 characters, you can easily see the security issues and potential eDiscovery options for the legal community. My general rule of thumb is that if you post something; assume that it can be discovered.

 

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout 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.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Podcast – Final question: Mediation is conflict at its best.

 Civil Engineering, Conflict Resolution, Mediation  Comments Off on Podcast – Final question: Mediation is conflict at its best.
Jun 272016
 

Civil Engineeering

Podcast – Final question: Mediation is conflict at its best.

What do you mean when you say: Mediation is conflict at its best? This was the final question Chris Knutson, PE asked in our podcast from Stuttgart, Germany. The podcast was a wide ranging discussion of how civil engineers could use mediation to resolve disputes in construction.

Here are the links to the Podcast:

Web Down Load

iTunes link

 

The final question of the podcast that Chris Knutson, PE asked:

What do you mean by the byline on my website: “Mediation is conflict at its best”?

To answer that I will have to give you a little history. Throughout history societies have developed and used mediation to resolve problems. Somehow in the last hundred years the USA has only focused on litigation to solve problems. That is why we are considered a very litigious society.
In the sixties, the hippies rebelling against the “Establishment”, rediscovered mediation as a means to solve problems. Their intent was to eliminate all conflict. Don’t forget the whole idea was to have peace.
Around the same time the business community (and I lump engineers into this group), were facing an average time of five years of litigation just to get to trial. This was expensive and counterproductive. They also started to experiment with mediation as a way to quickly resolve disputes. They also recognized that you could never get rid of all conflict you could only manage conflict in better ways.
For myself, mediation does have conflict in it that must reach a conclusion. But it is controlled so that it does not get out of hand. A better solution comes from the recognition that conflict is part of our lives and that through mediation you can control the outcome of the conflict. Therefore: Mediation is conflict at its best.
Ken_Strongman_003smAbout 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.
© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

For the Lawyer: What is a twitter hashtag?

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on For the Lawyer: What is a twitter hashtag?
Jun 072016
 

Devil's Postpile National Monument - hashtag

What is a hashtag?

 

For the Lawyer: What is a twitter hashtag? Twitter is only one aspect of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

What is a twitter hashtag?

A hashtag is a term or word or run-on phrase, prefixed by the # or hashtag symbol. It is more properly and historically known as the pound sign. It helps people categorize messages in twitter. It is a critical way to search for a topic and its topic stream. It is about the only useful way to search on twitter for information or users that might be of interest to you.

Anyone can create a hashtag. You create it by just starting to use it. If you have one you think you want to use, you might search for it on twitter to see who also might be using it. You might change your mind if you find out that some disreputable organization has used your idea for a while. This is not a bar to your use of it. There are not licensing requirement. You can appropriate another hash tag if you want by just using it. This is one way to make connections with others that might have similar interests.

The hashtag concept was not created by twitter but by twitter users. The concept is now also being used by other social media such as Facebook.

 

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout 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.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Twitter terms Lawyers need to know

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on Twitter terms Lawyers need to know
May 242016
 

Twitter Terms

Understanding twitter Terms

Twitter Terms Lawyers Need to Know

Twitter terms is only one aspect of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

What other new twitter terms is there that a Legal Professional needs to know?

Tweet

Tweet: a noun referring to a single twitter post. It is also used as a verb. The term was created by twitter users not twitter.

Retweet or RT

Retweet or RT: Retweeting is the act of reposting someone else’s posts and giving them credit. RT’s help messages work their way around twitter. Sometimes they are important and sometimes of dubious importance. It does suggest that you respect, approve, or appreciate the ‘importance’ of their thoughts and content. It is very flattering to be retreated and will give you and your post a much wider audience.

@messages

@messages: At the beginning, there was no way to send a message to anybody else on twitter. You could just post status updates. Users started to add th @ symbol to the beginning of an account name as a way to send a public message or to refer to someone on twitter. Twitter is set up to show you only the messages between people you are following. If you are following Sam but not Fred, you will not see any messages between Sam and Fred. Alternately, if you are following both, you will see both between them. Note: It is assumed that when you start a tweet with a @ symbol you are sending a message to an individual. If you want to mention that individual in a post so that all can see, do not begin with the @ symbol. The solution is easy. Begin with anything else. (.@kpstrongman) (Period @kpstrongman).

DM or direct messaging

DM or direct messaging: Though twitter is public by default, twitter does have a private message option. They are called direct messages or DM’s. They are also 140 characters. The interesting part is that the recipient has to be following you. They can DM you but you can’t DM them. To have an effective conversation you both must follow each other. Note: for eDiscovery make sure you as specifically for direct messages sent regarding the case. Tip: Twitter has a feature that sends an email when someone DM’s you (See notifications). Leave it on because twitter does not notify you when you have a DM any other way.

 

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout 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.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

For Legal Professionals: Follow a Lot of People but Don’t Spam

 Social Media & Legal Profession, Speaking & Training  Comments Off on For Legal Professionals: Follow a Lot of People but Don’t Spam
May 192016
 

023_ken_Strongman_twitter

Twitter is only one aspect of Social Media that Legal Professionals need to master. My Project Social Media presents my thoughts regarding the impact of social media marketing on the practice of law. See my page to for more information.

For Legal Professionals: Follow a Lot of People but Don’t Spam

Besides tweeting 24/7 an easy way to get followers is to follow people that interest you. Since people get notified via their email and activity feeds when you do follow them, they’re more likely to notice you and follow back. This is a natural part of reciprocity. If you follow someone first, they’ll feel more obligated to reciprocate than if you didn’t follow them at all.

Though it is perfectly natural to reciprocate, do not do it automatically yourself. When someone follows you, make sure they are someone you want to follow. When I first started to use Twitter, I quickly gained some dubious followers. They were young pretty ‘professional’ women. I blocked them from my twitter account.

You should still only follow people you actually care about. Definitely don’t follow more than a couple hundred users per day, otherwise Twitter might mistake you for a spam bot and suspend your account.

You can find people to follow by:
• Importing or inviting your email contacts. Please check to see if they are already twitter users. Twitter does not tell the difference between current users and those that never have joined when you have imported your contacts. I have received several invitations to join twitter from colleagues. A better idea is to only follow your colleagues that are currently using twitter.
• Using Twitter’s “Who to Follow” tool found in the “Discover” section of Twitter.com;
• Looking at who your followers are following. This is one of the best ways.
• Browsing a Twitter directory, such as Twellow.com or WeFollow.com.

Attend a Hashtag-Friendly Conference

Attending a Hashtag event will result in an increase in followers because attendees are more tuned in to the conversation. By participating by tweeting, your tweets reach an attentive audience with greater frequency. Though this my look like a major commitment of time, we in the legal profession naturally attending more and more hashtag events. Most Bar conferences, MCLE presentations already have their own hashtags. If they do not, you can start your own hashtag. This can be done in two ways: either by suggesting it to the conference organizers or simply creating your own hashtag.

When you have plans to attend a conference, make sure you monitor the event hashtag, follow other attendees, and respond when you have something meaningful to say. Each interaction is like a targeted advertisement to follow you.

 

**Why the picture of flowing water?  Twitter is a constant flow of information and communications. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout 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.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Podcast – Does Mediation solve Civil Engineering and Construction disputes?

 Civil Engineering, Conflict Resolution, Mediation  Comments Off on Podcast – Does Mediation solve Civil Engineering and Construction disputes?
May 092016
 

Civil Engineeering

Podcast – Does Mediation solve Civil Engineering and Construction disputes?

Chris Knutson, P.E. of the Engineering Career Coach questioned me: Does Mediation solve civil engineering and construction disputes? While he was in Stuttgart, Germany and I in California we tackled that question and more. With over 750,000 downloads under their belt, I was honored to answer their questions.

Here’s the links to the podcast.

Web Down Load

iTunes link

Here are more detailed answers to some of their questions:

From your experience, how successful is mediation for resolving civil engineering and construction disputes? What happens if a mediation doesn’t produce an agreed upon resolution?

I’m a little bias in my response. I find mediation to be very successful in resolving disputes.
If the mediation does not create a settlement that is satisfactory to all of the key decision makers, it has reached an impasse. At that point, we might try to create a partial agreement. If not a partial agreement, we might schedule another mediation session. I will do follow up to see if the parties can come to an agreement or schedule another session. I am finding that it is common to have several sessions particular in complex cases. Without an agreement, it is as if the mediation never took place. The parties are free to seek other solutions to the dispute.

What does a mediation look like…who’s involved…what might one expect as it unfolds? (In other words, who hears the mediation, who is typically involved, how long do they typically last)

First of all, the mediator is not a judge. All of the stakeholders/decisions makers need to hear all sides off the dispute and solve it on their own terms The mediator is there to facilitate the process.
The mediation really starts with the first contact to the mediator. There may be multiple conversations jointly or separately with the mediator before the mediation session. This period of time also includes a mediation brief outlining each party’s description of the dispute, plus their goals and needs.
On the day of the mediation, I usually begin with a group session where I outline the process that we will engage in during the day. We also start with introductions of the parties and a statement of their opinion of why we are in a dispute. We also start to develop a complete list of issues that need to be resolved.
At some point, we will break out in separate rooms so that I can have private conversations with each party. This will continue until we develop a settlement agreement.Less complicated issues can take a day or less. The bigger the project and the more stakeholders involved will lengthen the time to reach an agreement. It might be several days.

What are some of the qualifications a good mediator?

• Able to quickly build trust and confidence.
• Excellent inter-personal skills: Patience and a sense of humor.
• Creativity in assisting parties and counsel in shaping a solution.
• Willing to do everything they can to encourage and assist in settlement.
• Being prepared for your mediation.

How does a mediation start? Does it have to be included in a contract to be a method of conflict resolution, or can both parties agree to follow it versus litigation or arbitration?

Mediation can be done at any point in the dispute.
• It can be pre-litigation. In other words, no lawsuit has been filed. If there is a dispute resolution board put into place, it will happen throughout the project as needed.
• Mediation can run parallel to litigation and arbitration. And can even be done post judgment.
• It does not have to be part of the contract. If it is part of the contract, the contract should spell out how mediation is started.
• If the contact specifies a specific provider that is not necessarily final. If the parties agree, you can use another provider such as myself.
Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout 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.
© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.