By Caitlyn Scofield, Investor Advocacy Clinic Spring 2019 Student Intern
I entered into the Investor Advocacy Clinic in the last semester of my last year of law school. I had waited for over a year to be apart of this clinic and had been looking forward to the experience. I was not disappointed and now I can’t believe it is coming to a close. Through my school journey I have had the opportunity to have a multitude of various experiences, but nothing has come close to what I was able to do in the Investors Advocacy Clinic. During my time at the clinic, I not only had the opportunity to work with amazing colleagues, but also work with clients, the Secretary of State’s Securities Division, and speak with representatives from the SEC and FINRA. The time I have spent in the Investor Advocacy Clinic has honestly been one of the best and most valuable experiences of my law school career.
When I came into the clinic I wasn’t sure what to expect. Of course, I had heard of other IAC interns working with clients on financial matters and with the FINRA arbitration process, but I had no idea of all the other opportunities and work I would get to be involved with. From working with clients and blogging about video games to working with the Secretary of State, the things I got to do within the clinic were diverse, unique and invaluable. Not only did I have the opportunity to advocate for investors who were wronged, but also at higher level with the Secretary of State, the SEC and FINRA. I am honestly humbled by the engaging opportunities I was presented with during my time with the clinic.
The most unique of the experiences was the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. and present to the SEC. Our time with the SEC was spent speaking to various representatives within the organization on what we saw and handled within our clinic and what we believed would be ways to improve protections for investors. Our clinic presented on the need for investor communication and empowerment focusing on the beginning of the #NoShame movement. This a social movement to end the stigma against talking about money, which we feel will empower investors to better communicate by sharing their questions and concerns with others. That, in turn, will help them to avoid fraud and better invest their money. The opportunity to have those who make policy and regulations hear what we as students and advocates had to say was exhilarating. I personally felt like we were making a real impact on the lives of those that we are seeking to help. We were also able to interact with other Investor Advocacy Clinics from around the country and hear what their experiences were. It was a wonderful experience to engage with so many people who are interested in the same cause.
My time in the clinic was invaluable and I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my last semester at Georgia State. At every turn I was wowed by the amount of investment, work and diligence of my colleagues and those we worked with. Every experience was memorable and unique. I hope to keep in touch with my clinic colleagues for many years to come.