Join a Clinic to Find Your Career Path: Apply Now for Fall 2018

Applications for the three in-house clinics’ fall 2018 semesters are due February 28 before 11:59 pm at  insidelaw.gsu.edu/clinic-application.  Why should you consider joining the Health Law Partnership (HeLP), Investor Advocacy Clinic (IAC) or Philip C. Cook Low Income Taxpayer Clinic?  Read former IAC intern Qudsiq Shafiq’s take on how clinic helped her discover her path in law:

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, and 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.

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.

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My Clinic Story: Lynn M. Mckeel

By:   Lynn M. Mckeel, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

As the semester draws to a close and I complete the first half of my Clinic experience, one aspect of the clinic stands out. The Investor Advocacy Clinic describes itself as a resource for injured investors who may seek recourse in FINRA arbitration proceedings. However, it is so much more than just a FINRA clinic. Throughout the semester the interns were exposed to a variety of instances of investor peril. Yes, we reviewed potential FINRA claims, but we also reviewed cases under investigation by the Georgia Secretary of State; participated in an SEC meeting; created educational tools for investors; and even participated in FINRA arbitration proceedings. This diverse smorgasbord of assignments made for a completely unique and ever changing Clinic experience.

At the forefront of our tasks was the analysis and evaluation of potential FINRA claims. Because of the Clinic’s limited resources we must use the utmost scrutiny in evaluating a potential client. In a perfect world with a more cushioned budget, the Clinic could help everyone who has been so selfishly defrauded. But with heavy heart we must apply a strict level of scrutiny to investors who have already been dragged through the ditches. Sometimes these evaluations may take weeks or even months before a determination of eligibility may be assessed. The time between intake and eligibility determination is a very intimate and personal experience. As Clinic interns we must discuss very private matters with eligible clients and review sensitive financial documents for hours on end. This process allows for a smooth transition from potential client to represented client. However, it also allows for a level of disappointment from both the investor and the Clinic if the grievance is deemed ineligible for our services. One thing is for sure, the students who participate in these evaluations are more educated, more experienced, and more prepared for the work and expectations of private practice. Continue reading

Reading vs. Understanding: The True Issue

headshotBy: Tyler Almon, HeLP Fall 2017 Student Intern

After hearing through the grapevine about what to expect from the HeLP Clinic, I understood that my casework this semester would involve email communication and drafting pleadings, along with an introduction to the atrocious legal issues surrounding the Atlanta area. What I did not know, however, was the real problem that lied behind every document and email regarding these cases. The real problem was called “life.” What our clients’ lives entail is something that a HeLP intern could never even begin to feel or imagine until seeing it in person.

Throughout my cases, I have been able to see first-hand the struggles that people are going through, ranging from mold inside an apartment, to children with chronic asthma, autism, and developmental delays. The issues seem unbearable to our clients. The worst part of it all was that they didn’t have anybody else fighting for them. That is the clinic’s job, to be the voice for the clients who have none otherwise. Continue reading

A Thanksgiving Message from the HeLP Clinic

Breandan Cotter photoBy: Brendan Cotter, HeLP Clinic

As we clinic students enjoy our week-long Thanksgiving break, I hope everyone can catch up on sleep and spend some time with their families for those who are able. Reflecting on my experiences this semester, I came to the timely conclusion that I, and likely many other fellow students, faculty, and staff, have much for which to be grateful. It may sound cliché, but in light of what I have seen while working at the HeLP Clinic, I feel Thanksgiving comes at a perfect time for some self-reflection on appreciating what our lives have offered us thus far.

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