I returned to the Investor Advocacy Clinic this semester after a semester long break spent at the Securities and Exchange Commission. I could think of no better way than to spend my last semester at law school. The Clinic serves as a place for students to improve all their legal skills under the supervision of Professors Iannarone and Doss. The Clinic serves investors who would otherwise be unable to find representation. Working with the clients of the Clinic has been one of the most rewarding and gratifying law school experiences that I have had. After serving as a Clinic I, intern in the spring of 2015, I realized the Clinic was one of the most comprehensive educational experiences a law student could have. The Clinic affords students the opportunity to conduct client interviews, speak with opposing counsel, draft motions, counsel clients, and negotiate with opposing counsel and come up with a plan of action. The professors provide a lot of discretion and act as a safety harness. Students in the Clinic are encouraged to think through problems and come up with solutions for the problems. During my time in the Clinic, not only did I learn the conceptual knowledge related to securities arbitration, I also learned about the practical aspects of practicing in the field, that I believe translates to various areas of law.
I would encourage every student to participate in a Clinic before they complete their law school career. Although Clinics are demanding, students will leave the Clinic agreeing that it was well worth the experience.
Radio, one of the oldest form of mass communication, is still being used to defraud investors. Many people look to the radio for entertainment during their morning commute, but many others listen to radio programs that discuss and provide investment information. These programs address general topics relating to investments and some provide recommendations as to what may be a good investment. The SEC announced that some investment-related radio programs are being used to defraud investors. Radio programs could be connected to various types of investment fraud, a few examples include: Continue reading →
Francis Laryea, a third year law student, has returned to the Investor Advocacy Clinic for a second semester. Laryea initially worked in the clinic in spring 2015 and spent the fall 2015 semester in an externship with the Atlanta office of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Laryea says that the clinic is important to him because he “gained a lot of foundational knowledge” during his first semester in the clinic and he hopes “to return to learn more and better prepare for the real world.” He returned to the clinic for a second semester because the clinic “is a great source of learning, both theoretical and experiential.”
Upon graduation, Laryea expects to practice business litigation and securities arbitration.
Eight students joined the Investor Advocacy clinic at Georgia State University’s College of Law for the spring 2016 semester. The clinic is pleased to have several students rejoining us for additional work with clients, including Alexandra Hughes, Francis Laryea, Bryan Rafie and Kelly Robinson. Four new interns, Tosha Dunn, Geoffrey Hafer, Michael Williford, and Siri Yellamraju, joined the clinic for the semester.
During a day-long boot camp led by clinic director Nicole Iannarone and Adjunct Professor Jason Doss, the students received training concerning their new cases and clinic’s operations as a functioning law office. Guest speaker Robert Port, an attorney at Gaslowitz Frankel, shared insight on investments, risk and working with clients.
Student interns began to collaborate in their teams and develop goals for the semester to come. The student interns immediately jumped into the clinic’s work, reviewing case files to get up to speed on their cases and even speaking with clients concerning substantive issues. Throughout the semester, students will work on filed proceedings, preparing for a final hearing and engaging in mediation and settlement discussions, and evaluate new client matters.
My experience in the Investor Advocacy Clinic was unlike any educational experience I have had before. It was indeed an experiential learning experience. I did not play a passive role in my learning, but rather an active role. I learned about securities arbitration by doing rather by sitting in a classroom and reading opinions. On my very first day in the clinic, I felt as though I was tossed into the deep end. There was so much I did not know. However, with the aid of my clinic professors, I was able to figure out how to float and eventually navigate the waters. Continue reading →
This week, we’re covering the Internal Revenue Service’s list of 12 scams, known as the “Dirty Dozen.” For our final post, we’ll be covering and explaining the last three scams on the list and providing tips on how to protect yourself.
Faking Income to Claim Credits – One scam is making it look like you made money that you didn’t in order to maximize taxable credits. If you are inaccurately stating your income in order to claim a tax credit, reconsider. This can subject you to penalties or criminal prosecution.
Excessive Fuel Tax Credits – Unless you use fuel in off-highway businesses (like farming), the fuel tax credit is not generally available to most taxpayers. The IRS says, however, that unscrupulous tax preparers convince taxpayers to erroneously claim the credit to inflate their refunds. The IRS is on the lookout for such schemes, thus if you are aware the credit does not apply to you, do not be swayed by your tax preparer.
Frivolous Tax Arguments– Don’t disobey the law by making a frivolous argument against paying taxes. Several arguments have been thrown out of court, and if you make a frivolous argument, you might receive a $5,000 penalty or face criminal prosecution for attempting to evade or defeat tax. The IRS has a list of frivolous tax arguments that taxpayers should avoid.
We hope we have provided some helpful information as we conclude our review of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen on Tax Day.
This week, we’re covering the Internal Revenue Service’s list of 12 scams, known as the “Dirty Dozen.” For Part III, we’ll be covering and explaining three more scams on the list and providing tips on how to protect yourself.
Fake Charities – Keep an eye out for groups pretending to be charities. Some scammers are willing to take advantage your generousity. They tout supposed charities with legitimate sounding names to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors. IRS.gov contains tools taxpayers can use to check out the status of a charitable organization – like Exempt Organizations Select Check. Before you donate, do your homework.
Hiding Income with Fake Documents– The forms we file along with our tax returns reporting income should not include inaccurate information. Filing a fake document could result in penalties, interest charges and criminal prosecution. Remember, you are legally responsible your tax returns. If your preparer suggests you lie on a document associated with your taxes, the IRS says that “is a huge red flag.”
Abusive Tax Shelters– While most of us pay our fair share of taxes, if a tax plan sounds too good to be true, make sure it isn’t an illegal tax shelter. The IRS encourages taxpayers to seek out an independent opinion if they are offered a complex tax savings product to ensure it is legitimate.