Exciting Opportunity for Paralegals: Become a FINRA Arbitrator

By Alicia Mitchell-Mercer

Becoming a FINRA arbitrator is a great way to leverage your skill set and expand your professional career. If you are a paralegal or other legal professional working in securities litigation and/or arbitration, you have likely heard of FINRA.

What is FINRA?

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is an independent, nongovernmental organization that writes and enforces the rules governing registered brokers and broker-dealer firms in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines brokerage firms, and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws.

FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity by regulating brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. If brokers break the rules, FINRA has the power to fine them, suspend them or bar them from the industry. In addition, FINRA monitors trading market activity in the U.S. equities, options and fixed-income markets.

As a part of the regulatory process, FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. The resolution of problems and disputes is accomplished through two non-judicial proceedings: arbitration and mediation.

FINRA is Accepting Applications to Become Arbitrators

FINRA is searching for qualified individuals to become FINRA arbitrators, and they encourage paralegals to apply. Applicants should have 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.

Serving as a FINRA arbitrator is a great way to give back to your community by lending your professional knowledge and experience to the process. In addition, as an arbitrator you have an opportunity to:

  • earn honoraria ($600 per day) when attending a hearing;
  • develop valuable professional skills;
  • get free training; and
  • expand your network inside and outside the securities industry.

Learn More About Becoming a FINRA Arbitrator

Resources to help you learn more about becoming a FINRA arbitrator, answer frequently asked questions, and to assist you with completing the application, including a guide that walks you through the process, are available on the FINRA website.

You can also contact Sitara Ahmed of the Neutral Management Recruitment Team at ArbRecruitment@finra.org or  (212) 858-4377 with any additional questions.

To become a FINRA arbitrator, please complete the online application at http://www.finra.org/arbitration-and-mediation/apply-now. The application support team can also be reached at 212-858-3999.

Alicia Mitchell-Mercer, LPP, ACP, RP, NCCP, SCCP is a senior paralegal, legal project manager, and consultant in Charlotte, N.C. She has a B.S. in Paralegal Studies and a M.S. in Project Management. She is a certified paralegal through the NC State Bar, SC Bar, NALA, and NFPA and a certified Legal Project Practitioner through the International Institute of Legal Project Management. Alicia is the Technology Committee Chair and Communications Co-chair of the North Carolina Bar Association, Paralegal Division and volunteers with the NC Guardian ad Litem program. Email: alicia.mercer2014@gmail.com; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aliciamercer/