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Alternative Dispute Resolution

FINRA says arbitrator axed from its list wasn’t a lawyer

Posted Mar 25, 2014 1:54 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A California man was removed last year from a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority list of arbitrators because he lied about being a lawyer, FINRA confirmed to Reuters.

Meanwhile, James H. Frank heard 38 securities arbitration cases between 1998 and 2011, Reuters reports.

Frank told the news agency that is, in fact, a "lawyer" (he himself put the quotes around the word), and says the State Bar of California must have lost its records of his admission. He admitted that he was never licensed in Florida or New York, although FINRA apparently thought he was.

A real lawyer's background investigation of Frank after an arbitration hearing led to the discovery that there was only one James Frank licensed to practice in California—and that attorney was not the James Frank working as an arbitrator on FINRA matters.

That licensed attorney, James Hamilton Frank of Santa Monica, has never served as an arbitrator and is not currently in practice. He graduated from Southwestern Law School in 1975.

A FINRA report showed its arbitrator, James Frank, had claimed to be a Southwestern law graduate, the Reuters article says. However, the now-former FINRA arbitrator tells Reuters he never claimed to be a Southwestern law grad, although he did take a bar refresher course there at one point.

"There is no question he is using my credentials. This is not accidental," James Hamilton Frank told Reuters.

The former arbitrator said he was "taken back" by this contention.

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