On January 26-27, 2021, WSS’ Texas Office participated in the first live FINRA Hearing conducted in the post-COVID era held in Houston, Texas.  In a unique “test case,” the Panelists and attorneys, with FINRA’s blessing, agreed to attend the final hearing in person, while giving the parties and witnesses the option of appearing in the hearing in person or remotely via Zoom.  To ensure that COVID safety protocols, such as wearing masks, social distancing and other measures, were followed, FINRA appointed a “Safety Officer” to attend and monitor the hearing sessions.  The case lasted two days with several witness and party representatives testifying either live or remotely by Zoom.  “Overall, I was very impressed with the efficiency and professionalism of the FINRA Safety Officer and the various precautionary measures implemented,” said WSS Texas Managing Partner, Martin Schexnayder, lead attorney for the Respondents in the case, which involved a customer dispute arising from allegedly unsuitable investments.  “I had my concerns about whether the safety measures might impede the presentation of evidence, but I was pleasantly surprised how smoothly and efficiently the process went.”  FINRA representatives told Schexnayder that if the test was successful, the same processes would likely be implemented in future hearings.  The parties are currently awaiting a decision from the Panel.