Investor Advocacy Clinic: My Home Away From Home

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

My final semester of clinic and law school…what a journey.  I can honestly say my experience over three semesters in the Investor Advocacy Clinic was by far my favorite part.  The opportunity to practice our soon to be trade in a firm-like environment with real clients is completely invaluable.  I had no idea what to expect my first semester of clinic.  We had all made it through the first year of law school but had zero experience with actual client interaction.  On the first day of clinic we were all assigned several client matters and were expected to begin work immediately.  It was a bit overwhelming at first.  What if I say something wrong to the client or miss some major issue in the case?  Reflecting back now after three semesters, this is the reality that we must all face at some point no matter where we ultimately end up.  Lawyers have an enormous responsibility to their clients and themselves and it can often times be rather daunting.  But the clinic allowed me to face that reality early in my journey.

Working on a team with fellow colleagues allowed me to see that those initial fears were not my own.  We were able to work through them together, ask questions, seek advice, and share concerns.  It instilled in all of us the confidence needed to hit the ground running when we finally get into practice and are on our own.  Furthermore, we were all able to utilize the advice and guidance of a professor who had real world experience and expertise.  Professor Iannarone acted as a mentor to myself and the other student interns and helped shape us all into the kind of attorneys we aspire to be.

By my third semester, I had handled multiple client matters from start to finish, conducted settlement negotiations, worked with opposing counsel, drafted countless legal documents, but more importantly gained the confidence in myself and my abilities to be the kind of attorney I know I can be.  Although the substantive courses we all have to take in law school are much needed for a general understanding of the law, there is no substitute for the kind of experiential learning you will get from a clinic such as ours.  I would recommend the Investor Advocacy Clinic to anyone and can’t thank Professor Iannarone and my fellow colleagues enough for their support and advice throughout my journey.  The Investor Advocacy Clinic has been my home away from home the last three semesters and the team like a family.  I will miss you all and wish you all the best.