My Clinic Story: From Course to Career Path

Law IACBy: Qudsia Shafiq, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

In Fall 2016, I enrolled in the business arbitration practicum without any prior knowledge about FINRA, arbitration or the securities industry. After one semester of the Business Arbitration Practicum course and two semesters of the Investor Advocacy Clinic, I can confidently say that this was the most impactful experience during law school because of what I learned.

First, I learned what other courses didn’t teach me.

  • I learned to work closely with two different groups of individuals (both of whom I now consider my clinic family);
  • I learned how to interview, communicate and build relationships with (potential) clients, attorneys, and other similar clinic students;
  • I learned to confidently draft complex statements of claim, demand letters, memos;
  • I learned about different damage theories and how to apply them in calculating damages to accurately represent our investors’ losses;
  • I learned how to run a law firm – being mindful of timekeeping and time management; and
  • I learned how to be a more efficient and effective attorney from my peers and Professor Iannarone, who constructively challenged my approaches, ideas, and resolution recommendations.

The Clinic provided a safe learning environment where I could express any ideas without fear of placing a client’s matter in jeopardy.

Second, and most importantly, the Clinic allowed me to find an area of law I was passionate about and an area that combined all my interests. I entered the clinic knowing I was interested in transactional work, advocating for underrepresented or aggrieved individuals and finance/business; but what I unexpectedly discovered was my interest in capital markets, alternative methods of dispute resolution, securities regulation and the role of government agencies.

Third, the Clinic provided me with invaluable opportunities such as partnering with the Secretary of State Securities Division to investigate consumer complaints and my personal favorite – testifying before the SEC’s Investor Advocacy Committee in Washington, D.C.

All this to say, that a decision to enroll in a law school course and clinic, led me to an unexpected career path – a decision and opportunity that I am eternally grateful for.