My Clinic Story: Embrace the Challenges

By: Hector Rojas, Spring 2017 Student Intern

Have you ever told yourself, “I can’t do that” or “that’s too hard” or even “I am not good enough?” I have…

My Clinic story began in the fall of 2015 when I attended my law school’s experiential learning fair. During that fair, I learned about the various clinics my school offered to help students gain practical experiences prior to graduating law school. Because I was most interested in business law, I inquired into the Investor Advocacy Clinic. I was given the opportunity to speak with current student interns of the clinic and to the now director of the clinic, Professor Iannarone. During my discussions with the interns, I learned what the Investor Advocacy Clinic was all about. I was very interested; however, I was hesitant to join because I knew nothing about securities arbitration. So, I left the experiential fair that day with the thought of “I can’t do that.”

Even though I thought I could not be a part of the clinic because I did not know about securities arbitration, I decided to take the pre-requisite class, Business Arbitration Practicum, which is required prior to becoming a student intern of the clinic. Throughout that class, we were given various assignments that would simulate the work that was done in the clinic. There was not one time I did not think “that’s too hard” or “I can’t do that” when I was given these assignments.

To overcome those thoughts, I did the only thing I know to do in these situations, work hard. I solicited feedback from my professors, discussed the assignments with my classmates, and did individual research to learn about the subject matter. I repeated this process with every assignment I was given, and at the end of the semester I ended up sharing the highest grade of the class with another classmate.

The purpose of that story is to tell anyone who is reading this that it is okay to be intimidated, scared of failing, or even think you are not good enough to do whatever it is you wish to do. What is not okay is not trying because of those thoughts. If I had let those thoughts take over, I would have never been a part of the clinic. I would have never had the opportunity to work and help real clients. I would have never had the opportunity to work with great colleagues and receive feedback on my work. And most importantly, I would have never developed into the person I have developed into because of the clinic. The clinic was great, and if you want to hear my story pertaining just to the clinic, click here.

For this post, however, I thought I try to inspire anyone out there who wishes to do something new, but are afraid of failing. I am here to tell you that based on my experiences, the only way you will fail is if you don’t try. If you try, however, and put in the time and hard work, then there is no way you can fail. And even if you do find yourself “failing,” at least you know you had the courage to try and gave it your very best. At the end of the day, I believe that is how success is measured, which is by your individual effort.

I have no regrets with my decisions to join the clinic. Nor do I have any complaints about the clinic. The clinic does something really special in that it helps investors who have been harmed by their brokers and cannot afford to seek the assistance of counsel because of the size of their claim. I have grown as a person and as a professional because of my time in the clinic. I recommend to anyone out there who wishes to try something new but are afraid they cannot do it, to just try. It may not be easy, but going through the process will make you a better person and teach you valuable lessons that you can use in any future endeavors. The clinic has been a wonderful experience for me and I recommend its services to any investor which meets our qualifications, and to any Georgia State College of Law student who wishes to gain practical experiences prior to graduating.

Selecting a Stockbroker—Part V

Law IAC
Hector Rojas, Spring 2017 Student Intern

Recap…

We have covered a lot of information in this series. Regardless of if you’re just joining us or have been with us since part one of this series, here is a brief review of what we have discussed thus far. In part one of this series, we discussed who a broker is. There we learned that brokers execute orders on behalf of their clients and are paid a commission of the sale. Additionally, we discussed the two general categories of brokers and why this matters to investors.

In part two of this series, we discussed the role of the broker, who governs brokers, and by what standard their conduct is governed. The takeaway point of part two is that investors should be aware that their brokers are under an obligation to know their customers and to only make a recommendation after having a reasonable basis to believe that a product is suitable for them.

In part three of this series, we tied together all of these concepts and informed our readers of the significance of properly vetting their broker. We discussed that a potential benefit of taking the time to get to know your broker through independent research is minimizing the potential for broker misconduct and investor fraud.

In part four of this series, we offered various tools to help you learn more about your broker and the firm for which they work. In the last and final part of this series we will discuss some of the tips the Securities and Exchange Commission has provided to help investors when selecting their broker.

SEC’s Tips for Selecting a Financial Professional
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Selecting a Stockbroker—Part IV

Law IAC
Hector Rojas, Spring 2017 Student Intern

So far in this series, we have defined the term broker, discussed their role, how their conduct is governed, and why this matters to you. In part four of this series we will discuss some of the tools available to investors to learn more about their brokers.

How do I learn more about my broker?

Brokers have a report card, called a CRD.  The CRD is a computerized database with information about most brokers, some investment advisers, their representatives, and the firms they work for. The CRD provides information about brokers’ educational backgrounds, regulatory problems, and investor complaints.  One of the main tools available to investors to get information from the CRD is through FINRA’s Broker Check program.

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Selecting a Stockbroker—Part III

Law IAC
Hector Rojas, Spring 2017 Student Intern

Thus far in our discussion of selecting a financial broker, we have discussed what a financial broker is, what their role is, who governs their conduct, and the standard of care brokers must follow. In part three of this series, we will tie together all of these concepts and discuss why this matters to the investor. By the end of part three, you will understand the importance of properly researching and selecting your broker and how this simple, but important step, can help avoid broker misconduct and investor fraud.

Why does this matter?
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Selecting a Stockbroker—Part II

Law IAC
Hector Rojas, Spring 2017 Student Intern

In part one of this series, we defined the term broker. There we learned that there are two general classification of brokers, what each one does, and why that matters for investors. In part two of this series, we will discuss the role of the broker generally. We will discuss who has authority over brokers and the standard broker conduct or recommendations are judge by.

What is the role of the broker?

 

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Selecting a Stockbroker

Law IAC

Hector Rojas, Spring 2017 Student Intern

This week, I’ll be exploring the questions you should ask as you think about selecting a broker.  Keep with us all week to learn about the questions to ask to protect yourself.  Let’s start with the most basic question:

What is a stockbroker and what do they do?

 

We begin by defining the term “broker.” A broker is an individual who is paid on commission for executing customer orders.

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Wednesday’s Word: Investment Adviser

Law IACBy Hector Rojas, Spring 2017 Student Intern

Investing is risky, frightening, and stressful. Most of us have no idea how to invest or what to invest in. We aren’t familiar with the different kinds of investment vehicles available to us.  Nor do we understand the risks associated with certain investment products. Thus, most of us seek a professional who can walk us through this process.  One such professional is an investment adviser.  Another is a broker.  Do you know the difference?

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