The Investor Rights Clinic offers students the opportunity to represent investors with claims against their brokers in arbitration and mediation proceedings before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Under faculty supervision, law students provide legal assistance and advice to investors who may have claims involving misrepresentation, unsuitability, unauthorized trading, excessive trading (aka "churning"), and failure to supervise, among other claims. Students, in turn, gain valuable hands-on experience working on real cases, undertaking all aspects of client representation, including the intake, evaluation and prosecution of investor claims.
During the seminar component of this course, students learn basic substantive law of arbitration, broker-dealer regulation, and professional responsibility. At class and through several simulations during the semester, students also learn practical skills necessary to effectively represent their clients, including:
- Interviewing and counseling
- Factual and legal research and discovery
- Preparation of demand letters and statements of claim
- Engaging and preparing experts
- Negotiation and mediation
In cases that proceed to arbitration, students handle all aspects of the hearing, including making opening statements, direct and cross examination of witnesses, and closing arguments. Students also prepare and present programs designed to educate investors how to detect and avoid investment scams and broker misconduct.
The Clinic involves a substantial time commitment. Students are expected to attend the seminar that meets twice a week for one hour and fifty minutes. In addition to the time spent preparing for and attending class, students should expect to spend at least another 15-18 hours a week on Clinic-related work, which will include client-intake and interviewing, researching, developing and managing their cases, a weekly supervision case meeting, and working on investor education and outreach projects.
The Investor Rights Clinic is a one-semester and six credits.
Enrollment is by application only and limited to 16 students. Although there are no prerequisites for the class, preference will be given to students that have taken Securities Regulation (or have securities industry experience), Business Associations, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and/or Evidence.