By: Alexandra Hughes, Fall 2015 Student Intern
I joined the Investor Advocacy Clinic with little background in securities law and absolutely no idea of what FINRA Arbitration even entailed. Today, I am leaving with a firm understanding of customer disputes in FINRA Arbitration, experience in working directly with real clients, and the capability to draft legal documents. Undoubtedly, Clinic is a steep learning curve.
The Investor Advocacy Clinic has proven a truly unique experience in the otherwise conventional law school curriculum. The Clinic is a safe space to hone legal skills and allows students to essentially throw themselves in the “deep end” of a client case and see what they can do. The Clinic allows students to work in real life firms and gives them much discretion in deciding which direction to push a case. Of course, such discretion does come with responsibility for deadlines and being flexible to meet the needs of clients and opposing counsel, but these skills are invaluable to preparation for the real legal world.
What I enjoyed most about the Clinic was the opportunity to work with real clients. From conducting an interview with a potential client to easing a client’s worries about a contentious answer, I garnered advocacy skills, counseling skills, and intrapersonal skills. Although working with clients can sometimes be difficult, the Clinic provided continuous and varying opportunities for honing these skills.
The Investor Advocacy Clinic has invariably facilitated my transition from law student to future practitioner. The Clinic has helped me develop my analytical skills, legal writing skills, and advocacy skills. Although I will not be practicing securities law after graduation, I know the skills I have learned in Clinic will help prepare me for my entrance into civil defense litigation. For anyone who is considering whether or not to take the Investor Advocacy Clinic, or any other clinic, I would 100% recommend getting involved in the clinical experience. It is a decision you will not regret.