Some believe that anything goes in a Texas courtroom. They haven’t been to a securities arbitration. There are only a few rules of procedure. No rules of evidence. No court reporter. A very limited right to appeal. And, no requirement that the arbitrators be lawyers.
Laurie’s first arbitration was before a panel of non-lawyers and against a major brokerage house. Anticipating that the non-lawyer arbitrators may decide the case well after the hearing, Laurie prepared a trial brief summarizing her client’s claims and the evidence supporting each element. She also identified and described case decisions for the arbitrators in which courts had reasoned through similar evidence and similar claims. The Wall Street lawyer who appeared at the hearing for the brokerage house was surprised at the brief, wondered why she submitted it, and dismissed it as unnecessary. Ultimately, the arbitrators said that they appreciated the brief, their decision followed the brief, and they awarded 100% of the loss plus attorneys’ fees. An outstanding result in arbitration.