In October, an Atlanta attorney contacted Georgia State Law’s Investor Advocacy Clinic and asked it to co-counsel in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration case. Second semester clinic student Robert F. Noens (J.D. ’18) stepped up on behalf of the clinic to help represent an investor who lost money due to broker misconduct.
“Robert came onto the case during the run-up to the hearing – crunch time,” said Craig Kuglar, founding partner of Kuglar Law and a litigator specializing in securities arbitration.. “I treated him like any other co-counsel and assigned him direct examinations of the key witnesses.”
“As with litigation generally, it is rare to have a FINRA securities arbitration matter go to a full hearing,” said Nicole Iannarone, director of the Investor Advocacy Clinic. “After learning that our clinic students rarely had hearings, Craig generously reached out to us to give our students a chance to not only see a hearing but take a major role in it. We are so fortunate to practice in such a supportive community and cannot thank Craig enough for his role in mentoring our clinic students and sharing his years of expertise.”
To prepare for the direct examinations, Noens wrote and re-wrote directs according to Kuglar’s feedback. He and Kuglar also visited the witness at home, talked with experts and went over their strategy with a jury and witness consultant.
“It was a long process that went through a number of rounds of feedback based on what everyone collectively thought was the best course of action. I spent 50 hours working on just the directs during the week of the hearing. The level of preparation was bar-non, top quality,” Noens said. “The experience was invaluable and something one does not normally experience in law school. I cannot thank Craig or his office manager Beth enough for allowing me to be part of it, along with their time and patience.”
“Robert exceeded all expectations and I am pleased to report our clients were victorious in the matter,” Kuglar said. “I look forward to doing more work with the IAC to further its mission of providing quality real world experience to Georgia State Law students.”
Noens considers his involvement with the clinic as one of the most valuable experiences he’s had during law school.
“Simply put, it is practical,” he said. “After my past year in the clinic, I feel like I can walk into my first job as a young associate with the utmost confidence. Also, I would attribute most of that confidence to professor Iannarone’s mentorship. Her high standards and guidance will without a doubt leave a lasting impression on both me and my style of practice.”
Noens plans to work with a general practice firm in New Jersey after graduating. His focus will be civil litigation.
“This experience has only further cemented my desire to do trials,” he said.
“Investor Advocacy Clinic students dedicate themselves to doing everything they can to help their clients,” Iannarone said. “Robert worked hard in a setting intimidating for more seasoned lawyers and helped achieve an award for his client. There aren’t many law students who get to leave law school with a winning trial record.”