GSU College of Law Awarded FINRA Foundation Grant to Fund Investor Advocacy Clinic

Georgia State University College of Law has received a $250,000 grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation for the creation of an Investor Advocacy Clinic, scheduled to open in late spring or summer 2013. The FINRA Investor Education Foundation is the largest foundation in the United States dedicated to investor education. The grant will allow GSU to open the first clinic dedicated to serving small investors in the state.

With the creation of the GSU clinic, small investors, who otherwise cannot afford or find private legal representation because of the size of their claim, will be able to have potential claims against an investment professional evaluated by law students under the guidance of an experienced law professor.

“As employer-provided retirement packages become a thing of the past, more people turn to investment professionals, and sometimes find themselves in devastating circumstances. As the need for investor advocacy and legal representation grows, so will GSU Law,” said Doug Yarn, law professor and executive director of the Consortium for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.

We are proud to announce the creation of the Investor Advocacy Clinic on behalf of Georgians, while also providing an exceptional experiential learning environment for our students,” College of Law Dean Steven Kaminshine said.

Under supervision, GSU law students will provide legal services and representation for eligible clients whose brokers may have made unsuitable investments, excessive or unauthorized trades or otherwise failed to adhere to the clients’ instructions. Participating law students in the Investor Advocacy Clinic will use conflict resolution methods such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration to resolve investor cases. In addition, the Investor Advocacy Clinic will educate investors on how to prevent and resolve potential disputes. Yarn will serve as director of the Investor Advocacy Clinic. He has trained mediators and arbitrators nationwide, drafted arbitration legislation, and designed conflict management systems for private and public entities as part of his work with CNCR. In addition, he has served as a facilitator and mediator in hundreds of civil legal disputes and numerous public policy disputes.

Looking forward to the creation of the clinical program, Yarn said, “GSU Law has made a point of encouraging our students to apply their lawyering skills by offering experiential learning environments. I’m privileged to join the College’s other clinics in providing this exceptional opportunity to our students.”

The Investor Advocacy Clinic, made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, will join the ranks of GSU Law’s existing in-house clinics, the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and the Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services Clinic, in providing to students hands-on learning opportunities for practical lawyering skills.