Celesq® Attorneys Ed Center

A Trial Lawyer’s Perspective on FINRA Arbitrations and Expungement Proceedings

Program Number: 29117

Program Date: 09/11/2019


By opening a securities account with a broker-dealer, the customer has agreed to resolve disputes through binding arbitration. FINRA arbitrations bear some resemblance to litigation, but there are significant differences, such as limited discovery and motion practice, relaxed rules of evidence, and no appellate rights. These limitations emphasize the importance of persuasively presenting a client’s case, themes, and evidence at the hearing. A skilled trial lawyer should not view these limitations as a weakness but use them to his or her advantage in representing the client. The end of the arbitration is not necessarily the end of the matter for the financial services professional. The desire to expunge a negative disclosure from one’s U4 can be a confusing and difficult process that may involve multiple evidentiary hearings, but if handled by an experienced litigator, the results can be career changing as we have experienced first-hand.

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Available in states

California, Colorado Eligible, Georgia, New Jersey Eligible, New York, New York - BOTH New and Experienced Attorneys, Texas Self Study

Credit Information

50 minute credit hour - 1.0 General CLE credit, based on a 50-minute credit hour
60 minute credit hour - 1.0 General CLE credit, based on a 50-minute credit hour

State Program Numbers

Credit Eligible for Both New and Experienced Attorneys in NY


Matthew Kohel, Esq.

Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann, LLP

Mr. Kohel is a partner with the firm. His practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial, intellectual property, and product liability litigation. He represents clients in a wide variety of matters, including for breach of contract, fraud, franchise disputes, employment discrimination, and in securities cases and FINRA arbitrations, as well as in disputes for trademark infringement, the sale of counterfeit goods, misappropriation of trade secrets, and in patent infringement matters. Mr. Kohel has litigated in federal courts across the country and in domestic and international arbitrations. He regularly handles technical, scientific, and regulatory issues.

Mr. Kohel began his legal career at a large law firm in New York City. Since joining Goodell DeVries in 2013, he has successfully arbitrated cases involving claims for patent royalties, the enforcement of covenants not to compete, and for breaches of an international distribution agreement.

Mr. Kohel enjoys giving back to the community and has worked on pro bono matters throughout his career, including co-authoring a clemency petition resulting in the commutation of a mentally impaired inmate's death sentence. He is a member of the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation's Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force, and a board member of the Middle Grades Partnership in Baltimore.


George Mahaffey, Esq.

Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann, LLP

Mr. Mahaffey's practice includes the defense of a wide variety of professionals, including accountants, attorneys, engineers, design professionals, financial services and insurance professionals. He has handled complex construction defect and commercial litigation in state and federal courts, and general insurance defense. He has published on numerous matters related to professional liability defense.