After the panel is appointed, an Initial Prehearing Conference is scheduled. During this prehearing meeting, the panel will set discovery, briefing and motions deadlines, schedule subsequent hearing sessions, and address other preliminary matters that will simplify or expedite the arbitration. This meeting will usually be held over the telephone, unless the parties object otherwise.
The parties may agree not to hold the Initial Pre-hearing Conference. However, they must provide the following information, in writing, to the Director of Arbitration of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA):
- A statement that the parties accept the panel;
- Whether any other pre-hearing conferences will be held, and if so, for each pre-hearing 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 hearing dates;
- A discovery schedule;
- A list of all anticipated motions, with filing and response due dates; and
- A determination regarding whether briefs will be submitted, and, if so, the due date for the briefs and any reply briefs.