A Swan Song: My Clinic Story

By: Dowdy White, Fall 2018 IAC Student Intern

On September 30, 2012, Chipper Jones played in his final regular season home game for the Atlanta Braves. When Chipper stepped up to the plate, the sound of Turner Field turned from an intelligible murmur to a deafening roar of affection and gratitude for a man who spent his entire nineteen-year career in a Braves uniform. Chipper stepped out of the batter’s box, removed his helmet, and warmly acknowledged the adoring crowd behind him. It was a truly chilling and emotional curtain call – and a great end to an amazing career. Chipper stated that it was only because of the fans in Atlanta that he was able to play the game he loved.

Fast-forward to the Bronx in New York on September 26, 2013. Mariano Rivera pitched in his final home game for the New York Yankees in front of a sellout crowd at the historic Yankee Stadium. After nineteen years of dominating hitters in make-or-break game situations, Rivera laid the foundation to make it to Cooperstown to the MLB Hall of Fame. However, during his last game at Yankee Stadium, Rivera didn’t make the situation all about him. When he left the mound after throwing his final pitch, Rivera humbly tipped his cap to the crowd and acknowledged that everything he did during his career was for them.

This brings us to the Investor Advocacy Clinic at the Georgia State University College of Law in December 2018. While I’ll never be Chipper Jones or Mariano Rivera ending a career of almost two decades in the spotlight, I enjoyed my time in the clinic. However, I don’t want this time to be about me. I want to acknowledge everyone who has influenced my time here in the Clinic.

First, I want to tell you a little bit about Jennifer Grindell (a.k.a. Jen). Jen is one of the sweetest and kindest people that I have ever met. After a long day in the clinic, I could always count of Jen to swing by to offer a pick-me-up, whether it was in the form of a funny joke or a cherry Jolly Rancher. Jen always had my back no matter what I was attempting to do in the clinic and every time that I had a question about anything related to clinic (or even life), Jen always knew just the right thing to say to make everything okay. A true unsung hero of the clinic, and I want her to know that I sincerely appreciate everything she did for me throughout my two semesters down here.

Second, I want to thank Mariana Pannell. Mariana is one of the most organized people that I have ever met. On top of that, Mariana is one of the hardest working people on the GSU Law clinic faculty. In fact, I like to call her office the “nucleus” of clinic operations. Anytime I had any sort of administrative question or concern, Mariana was always fast to offer me a solution. In my time in the clinic, Mariana saved me from making countless mistakes when it comes to clinic protocols and procedures, and for that I will always be grateful.

Next, I want to thank Samantha Grundy (a.k.a. Sam). New to the clinic this past semester, Sam quickly fit right into the team. When you walk in the front door of the clinic, Sam is the first face that you see. Her smiling face and kind personality makes everyone feel incredibly welcome when they come in. Sam is also an incredibly quick study and is very diligent. She was able to learn all about our clinic’s procedures and was able to keep me on track every time that I had any questions. I am honored to have gotten to know Sam this semester and I am thankful for all of her help.

Of course, I have to thank Professor Nicole Iannarone. I don’t have enough space or time to thank Professor Iannarone for everything that she has done for me, but I will give it my best shot. Professor Iannarone knew from my first week in the clinic back in January that I was probably going to be a handful. However, she always tolerated my jokes and would give me a pity laugh even if what I said weren’t even that funny. Further, I could always count on Professor Iannarone to point out my “Southern-isms.” Professor Iannarone always appreciated my “can-do” spirit and never hesitated to point out ways for me to improve as a future lawyer. I will forever be grateful for the friendship and mentorship with which Professor Iannarone has provided me over the past two semesters and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work with her in the clinic.

Last but not least, I am very thankful for all of the clients and potential clients with whom I have worked throughout the past year. Though I haven’t been able to provide everyone with legal services, I always went above and beyond to make sure that every voice was heard and that every voice was appreciated. Our clinic handles a wide variety of different matters and because of every client and potential client, I gained significant experience in many different legal areas that I will be able to carry with me into my future practice. This experience has truly been invaluable to me and words cannot express how sad I am to be approaching the end of my clinical career.

The Investor Advocacy Clinic at the Georgia State University College of Law will always hold a very special place in my heart and I am thankful for everyone I have encountered throughout my time here. While my law school career is coming to a close at the end of the school year, I will never truly be far away from the clinic. I have enjoyed my time working for aggrieved investors and I am grateful for my time here. Until next time, remember to ALWAYS perform a broker check.