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What is Arbitration and Why Do I Need an Arbitration Attorney?

Because of overcrowding in the courts, some judges and lawyers recommend arbitration as a viable alternative to mediation or litigation. If your case is fairly straightforward and the plaintiff and defendant are willing to talk things out, then any case can enter arbitration and be successful with it. In arbitration hearings, there is a panel composed of one to three arbitrators instead of a judge, and they are chosen by both sides.

The plaintiff and defendant will file their pleadings which the panel will peruse before they listen to the arguments. Attorneys for both sides can submit documents and a testimony can be given. This process is similar to a traditional trial but it is far less formal. In arbitration, witnesses are not subject to perjury laws and related offenses since they do not have to swear an oath.

Arbitration cases are more expeditious than traditional trials on average. Traditional trials can languish in courts for years as cases are delayed and appeals are heard. In arbitration cases, the average a case takes is a little over a year from the time of the initial claim until there is a decision passed by the panel. The award issued by the panel is binding on all parties.
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The arbitration process is fast and this benefits the plaintiff. The speed or arbitration results in smaller legal fees. Since the decision of the panel is confidential, company cases are not known by the public, and this is an advantage to the defendant.
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Because the ruling or award of the panel is final there is no room for appeals and is quite a disadvantage. Fees are charged according to the size of the award and the number of hearings required to reach the decisions.

The cases eligible for arbitration are those that involve individual investors and a person or entity that is with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Disputes that involve businesses can also be settled through arbitration. Many times that cases are a dispute between an individual and his investor or brokerage house. The reason for this is that most investment firms now insist that their new clients settle any dispute they might have with them in arbitration, rather than in courts. This clause is almost always present in contracts between investors and investors. In order to avoid bad press, investment firms prefer arbitration although this is not exactly less expensive for them.

It is not recommended that people represent themselves in arbitration hearing despite it being possible. This is because you will be pitted against a company that will have an experienced attorney who knows the process on their side. So, before filing your case you should start looking for a securities arbitration attorney to help you with your case.