Wednesday’s Word: Fiduciary Duty

By Michael Williford, fall 2016 student intern

Some of you may have seen John Oliver’s recent segment on the importance of getting your financial advice from a professional that owes his or her clients a fiduciary duty. If not, and you can stomach some “blue” language, you can watch the full report here, or read about it here and here. As a reminder, this very blog has touched on the issue in the past. That post is worth another read.

In a nutshell, after explaining what a fiduciary is, Oliver advises viewers to make sure that any investment advice they pay for comes from someone with a fiduciary obligation. More traditional organizations like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, have attempted to explain what a fiduciary is and why it might be important to the average investor attempting to save for retirement. So, what’s the buzz about? Who owes a fiduciary duty and what is it? Continue reading

Welcome Back Student Intern Michael Williford

Michael Williford has rejoined the Investor Advocacy Clinic for the fall 2016 semester.  A third year law student, Williford plans to practice at a major Atlanta law firm after graduation in May 2017.  Williford eagerly signed up for a second semester of the clinic after working closely with investors in spring 2016.  He says he returned to the clinic for a second semester

“because it is important to me to advance the cases I began working on last year.  Those investors continue to need the clinic’s assistance and I want to help those clients with whom I have established a relationship.”

According to Williford, the Investor Advocacy Clinic is important to him

“[f]or the same reasons it is important to investors – because in a sea of ethical brokers who put their clients’ interests first, there remain those brokers who don’t always understand the nuances of the investments they recommend or take advantage of investors.  The clinic is here to help investors recover their losses when the size of the loss makes traditional legal representation economically impossible.”

Fall Semester IAC Interns Begin Work

The Investor Advocacy Clinic is back for another academic year.  Our fall 2016 student interns began their work on August 12, 2016 with a full day orientation and boot camp.  Two of our interns are returning from prior semesters, Geoffrey Hafer and Michael Williford.  Mary Ann Hanke, David Hsu, Majda Muhic, and Hector Rojas join the clinic for their first semester.

After learning about the clinic and its work in our orientation, the interns immediately jumped into their work. With over twelve active matters to kick off the semester, from investigating whether a claim exists to working with clients in a pending proceeding, the interns jumped in head first to the clinic’s work.  In addition to their work with clients, the interns are also working on an educational project to help protect investors and evaluating several FINRA rule proposals for potential comment.