My former firm is coming after me for training costs after my resignation. I had no experience in the industry, spent all my time prospecting and quit to go work for a bank just to earn a living. My supposed training amounted to a three week proprietary-product pitch in New York. I got very little training (or even supervision for that matter). Do brokers ever win these things? Should I file a counterclaim? Can I have an attorney in arbitration, or should I go in there alone?

I normally advise against anyone trying to handle a case by themselves. However, if the expense isn't more than what the firm is asking for, you might try paying an attorney for a few hours of advice on how to proceed and then going it alone. Brokers do win these cases, but not often. The main issue is how much of the limited training and lack of supervision you can document (or substantiate with other brokers’ testimony). Your argument is that the amount they’re seeking is unfair based on what they did for you. In essence, you want to argue that they breached the contract with you first by failing to provide you with the promised training/supervision. After hearing more details, an attorney would be able to give you advice on the merits of filing a counterclaim. The amount of damages involved (minimal since you were able to find another job fairly quickly) and the strength of your arguments (was some discrimination involved?) compared with the additional cost of filing a counterclaim all need to be considered. Oftentimes, firms are willing to negotiate a settlement with the broker for a lower amount or a payment schedule or both. There is some benefit to this (even if you have a strong defense) since leaving the decision to arbitrators is always a gamble.

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