Clinical Faculty Hold AALS Leadership Positions

Georgia State Law clinical professors lead both in the classroom and in the profession both through bar associations or the Association of American Law School sections. For 2017, the college has six faculty members holding leadership positions at AALS. Continue reading

A Collaboration Like No Other

By Prathyusha Chenji, HeLP Fall 2017 Student Intern

I never thought going to law school would also entail going to medical school. Generally, it is either one beast or the other, right? So, when we were told during HeLP clinic orientation that we’d be expected to attend classes at Morehouse School of Medicine, I was definitely nervous. Though I was excited to meet the medical students, I was also very curious to see how it would all work. Where would our collaboration take us, would we all mesh well, is this going to be like 1L orientation all over again? Really the questions were endless in my mind. Now, with half a semester of clinic behind me, I have realized that the med-law student partnership is perhaps the most brilliant concept anyone has ever come up with.

Even before attending our first Morehouse class, we were introduced to a fourth-year medical student who had opted to do one of her rotations at the clinic. I did not know it then, but it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I had just received a new set of medical records for the case I was taking the lead on. Naturally, when I saw that it was a 653-page document, I felt compelled to run screaming in the opposite direction. Our resident med student, Alana, was holding office hours daily, but I did not want to haul in this large document to her on the first day. It seemed rude to just show up and drop this monster file in her lap without a heads-up. So, I set up an appointment with her, expecting that maybe we should plan a time frame of three to four hours to review the entire record thoroughly. Imagine my surprise when Alana patiently walked me through the entire record in 35 minutes. I was pretty shaken up after that. Continue reading

Translate This!: “I can’t wait for my favorite fruit leather company to go public so I can invest in it!”

By: Julio Perez, Fall 2017 Graduate Research Assistant

I won’t explain what fruit leather is, but I will try to explain “public companies,” as opposed to “private companies.” It all centers around a company owner’s choice between gathering capital versus maintaining control of the company. The NASDAQ website defines a public company as a company that has held an “initial public offering” and whose shares are traded on a stock exchange or in the over-the-counter market. An “Initial public offering” (or IPO) is a company’s initial (or first) offer of stock to the public (you, me, the people running around Wall Street, and anyone buying stock online). Continue reading

Translate This!: “First, let’s assess your risk tolerance.”

By: Julio Perez, Fall 2017 Graduate Research Assistant

If you have reached out to a professional to help you set up your investment portfolio, you have already encountered this question. Hopefully, the professional also explained to you what this phrase means, but it doesn’t hurt to simplify. Continue reading

Tax Clinic Partners with Harvard Law School to Write Amicus Briefs for Tax Court

In partnership with the Harvard Federal Tax Clinic, student attorneys with the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and Ted Afield, clinic director and associate clinical professor of law, have co-written three amicus briefs in an effort to help influence case rulings that could negatively impact low-income taxpayers.

The partnership began in 2016, when T. Keith Fogg, clinical professor of law and director of the Federal Tax Clinic, Legal Services Center Harvard Law School, approached Afield to co-write a brief for Borenstein v. Commmissioner, 149 T.C. No. 10.

“Private practitioners approached both clinics to write a brief in the Borenstein case, given the potential impact that it would have on low-income taxpayers,” Afield said. “We decided to work together and provide a voice for low-income taxpayers in the matter.”

In the Borenstein case, the U.S. Tax Court examined whether the petitioner, who did not file a timely return, was entitled to a refund from three years prior. The brief requested the court to consider whether the petitioner was eligible for the three-year lookback period specified in Section 6512(b)(3) or limited to the two-year lookback period in Section 6511(a) and (b)(2)(B). The court ruled that she was limited to the two-year period and not entitled to the refund. Continue reading

Wednesday’s Word: Expense Ratio

By Abigail Warren, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

Investment products incur fees, some of these fees are transaction fees (fees an investor pays per transaction), and some are ongoing fees.  Many investment products have both types of fees.  The product’s expense ratio falls into the category of ongoing fees.  Ongoing fees are regular reoccurring fees an investor pays from the total assets of his or her investment product.  The SEC breaks these fees into four categories: investor advisory fees, 401(k) expenses, annual variable annuity fees and annual operating expenses.  Annual operating expenses are common among mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, or ETFs.   FINRA explains how these annual operating expenses include management fees, 12b-1 fees, and miscellaneous expenses.  Funds express these fees and expenses as a percentage, the fund’s expense ratio.  This ratio represents the percentage a fund charges an investor for annual operating expenses, which a fund directly deducts against the total assets.  Overall, the fees lower an investor’s return, so, even a small expense ratio can significantly reduce the fund’s value over time.  Investors will be in a better position to choose the right product if they understand and ask about the fees associated with each product.  The SEC  provides questions an investor can ask when shopping products.  Further, an investor can find the expense ratio on the prospectus or the fund’s website, and tools such as the tools such as the FINRA fund analyzer can help investors compare funds and associated fees.

Transfer Cases: The First Phone Call

By Taylor Williams, Fall 2017 HeLP Student Intern

Here in the HeLP Legal Services Clinic, new students are enrolled each semester. Unfortunately, navigating the legal system can take much longer than that. For example, clients appealing a denial of disability benefits can wait more than a year before their case is even scheduled to go to court. Since many of the HeLP clinic’s cases do not fall neatly into a semester box, the clinic’s clients often work with multiple teams of students. As one semester comes to a close, the client’s current team will “transfer” the case to a new team of students for the following semester.

While all transfer cases will be different, one thing remains the same – you will have to contact the client. Phone call is the preferred method of initial contact, as it is much more personal than sending an e-mail or worse, a text. A well-executed phone call tells clients that they are not just a case file being passed from one person to the next but a valued human being. This is vital to fostering an effective working relationship from the beginning.

The following tips for before, during, and after the initial phone call will help you start off your transfer case on the right foot. Continue reading