FINRA Discovery Guide

Discovery has always been a problem in litigation matters. In broad strokes, plaintiffs want to see every document that might possibly have any bearing on any issue in the case, and defendants don’t want to produce a single document. The courts and arbitration panels spend a significant amount of time trying to sort it all out.

In FINRA arbitration, there is almost always a motion to compel one side or the other to produce documents and information, with attendant delays in the discovery process.

In 2003 the NASD attempted to create lists of documents that should be produced in most cases, and in doing so, ignored the fact that cases are fact specific, and we cannot have a list of documents for all cases.

However, the creation of the Discovery Guide was a step forward, and over the years it has evolved. So long as parties and arbitrators keep in mind that the Guide is just that – a Guide – and not a list of what must be produced, or an exhaustive list of everything that should be produced, the Guide will continue to preempt some discovery disputes.

The FINRA Discovery Guide

Mark Astarita is a securities attorney who represents investors and financial professionals across the country in their arbitration, litigation and regulatory matters. He is a partner in the boutique law firm of Sallah Astarita & Cox. You can email Mark with questions at

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