My Clinic Story: Kristina Ludwig

By Kristina Ludwig, Fall 2014 Student Intern

ludwigI found the Investor Advocacy Clinic to be a very rewarding experience because it served as an introduction to working at a law firm. During the semester, I had the opportunity to interview clients, analyze their cases, and determine whether they were eligible for representation.  I learned how to conduct client intake and document review while also keeping track of my billable hours and discovering the importance of the up-to-date case plan.  I would recommend the Clinic to anyone who would like to gain some practical experience before they graduate, or anyone who is interested in securities arbitration.  I predict that the Clinic will be one of the most valuable classes I will take and I am glad that I took advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself.

My Clinic Story: Professional Growth and Skills Based Learning for the Real World

By Christopher Pugh, Fall 2014 Student Intern

pughA first year law student faces complex legal problems in the form of hypotheticals.  And this is an effective way to learn the law.  But these hypotheticals are written by law professors who provide facts that ultimately lead to a satisfactory legal conclusion.  Any facts that would lead the law students down a fruitless rabbit hole are generally avoided in these hypotheticals.  In the real world with real clients, there are many rabbit holes that must be explored if your goal is, as it should be, to zealously represent your client.  My time in the Investor Advocacy Clinic at Georgia State University College of Law taught me that the facts are not always on your side when representing real clients, but you must soldier on and find ways to be creative in search of new legal angles.  My time with the Investor Advocacy Clinic allowed me to break free from the hypothetical Wonderland of the first year and grow as a professional while developing the legal skills I need to become an effective lawyer.

My professional growth in the clinic this semester included learning how lawyers communicate with each other.  In this regard, I wrote demand letters to other lawyers, analyzed their responses to the clinic and learned that even speaking with other lawyers requires measuring every word.  The experiential learning that the clinic provides also allowed me to grow professionally through legal creativity.  Often creativity is an unbounded free flow of thoughts that sometimes leads to good ideas.  And this is the method of creativity that many of us learn in former jobs and in life.  In the clinic this semester, I realized that legal creativity is not so unbounded and requires that your ideas, for legal problem solving, must be squared with the law and the rules of professional conduct.  Put differently, I learned in the clinic that creativity must have some basis in the law or else you just find yourself lost in another rabbit hole.  This type of professional growth cannot be found in a hypothetical Wonderland—only experience with real world legal problems, like I faced in the clinic semester, can teach true legal creativity.

Legal creativity is useless if you do not have the skills to bring your ideas to bear on your clients’ legal problems.  I came to law school as a nontraditional student without a legal background.  When I started working in the clinic, my legal skills were limited to what I learned in the first year’s hypothetical Wonderland.  I had no idea how to actually practice law inside a law firm.  This semester in the clinic, my team had three clients—each with a different type of case at different stages.  This diversity provided an opportunity to develop a wide array of skills.  I wrote case plans, transaction memos, demand letters and I even learned a thing or two about fancy copying machines.

Most importantly, my clinic experience developed the essential skills every lawyer needs to effectively communicate with their clients.  During my semester in the clinic, I conducted two client intake interviews and communicated with my clients in person, by phone and electronically.  These experiences developed my skills as an investigator and diplomat.  We were always thinking about not only what questions we should ask the clients, but also how we should ask them and what follow up questions the client’s answers might lead to.  Although my new skills are still developing and have plenty of room for improvement, my time in the clinic this semester formed a strong skills foundation that I can build on for the remaining three semesters.

Unfortunately, just as my new professional growth and skills are starting to coalesce to form an effective practicing lawyer, it is time for me to move on.  The semester only lasts for less than four months, but in that short time my clinical training laid the foundation for a career in the legal profession that I can build upon for a lifetime.  Leaving the clinic so soon is difficult because I care about what happens with my clients’ cases after I am gone.  But I know that next semester, they will be in the good hands of some of the brightest law students in the world, guided by an amazing professor.  I know that my clinic experience will make me a better law student now, and someday a better lawyer. I would recommend the Investor Advocacy Clinic to any law student that seeks to become an effective practicing professional.

My Clinic Story: Kori Eskridge

By Kori Eskridge, Fall 2014 Intern

eskridgeThis is my last blog post as a student intern in the Investor Advocacy Clinic. Looking back on the semester, I am glad that I had the opportunity to take this class. The clinic was unlike any other class I have had in law school, with the possible exception of my internship I completed second year. Working in the clinic allowed me to gain valuable perspective with regards to working with clients and working with other attorneys in a team. These are skills that are hard to learn in other law classes. Additionally, we were allowed to brainstorm and think outside-the-box to try to come up with beneficial solutions for our clients. I enjoyed my time in the clinic and feel confident that I am better equipped with practical skills to take into the workplace after graduation.

My Clinic Story: Brittany DeDiego

By: Brittany DeDiego, Student Intern Fall 2014

dediegoAs the semester comes to an end, looking back on my clinic experience I realized how much I have learned both about securities law and about becoming a practicing attorney. The clinic has taught me how to communicate with clients and develop a case from beginning to end, helping me prepare for my future career.

I came into the clinic with very little knowledge about securities law or investment schemes. Through my research this semester for client matters, for our outreach presentation and for my blog posts I have learned about common scams that affect people every day. I learned that investment fraud could happen to anyone and the importance of doing your due diligence before making any sort of investment. I hope that my work in the clinic this semester will help me be a wise investor in the future, as well as be a source of knowledge for my friends and family when they make investment decisions.


NASAA Identifies New Products in Classic Schemes as Top Investor Threats

By Patricia Uceda, Fall 2014 Graduate Research Assistant

tideThe North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) recently identified emerging threats that investors will likely face in 2015. Many of the treats involve new products being sold in classic schemes, often fueled by the Internet. A common theme among all these threats are unlicensed agents selling unregistered products.

The following are the top four emerging threats facing investors in America that have been identified and compiled by NASAA. They include binary options, marijuana industry investments, stream-of-income investments, and digital currency and cybersecurity risks. In order to guard against these threats, NASAA is reminding investors to be cautious and to always investigate before investing. Continue reading

Still Searching for a Gift for the Grandkids?

giftGrandparents:  Are you still looking for the perfect gift for your grandchildren?  Why not give them a gift that they won’t outgrow?  This could be the year to help get them started on their financial future.  Check out this New York Times article for a great idea: For Grandchildren, the Gift of Financial Awareness.

Investor Advocacy Clinic Closed for Winter Break

The Georgia State University College of Law observes winter break from December 20 until January 4, 2015.  While we will continue to post to this blog, pursuant to University guidelines, our physical office will be closed and we will be unable to respond to inquiries during the break.  Please be aware that the passage of time can impact a potential claim.  If you have a legal concern while we are closed for the break, we urge you to contact another attorney.