So Long, Farewell, I Hate to Say “Goodbye”

By Alisa Radut, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

♫“There’s a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall, And the bells in the steeple too…. Regretfully they tell us, but firmly they compel us, to say goodbye….”♫

For those not familiar with the song reference from the popular motion picture The Sound of Music, the lyrics of the song encompass my feelings in leaving the clinic: bittersweet.

My second and last semester in the clinic has come to an end.  When I decided to return to the clinic, my main goal was to become an “expert” in dealing with the issues we face in helping clients.  Well, that certainly did not happen.  I did, however, grow in many other unexpected ways.  Continue reading

Friday’s Files: Account Transfers and Closings

Ben Dell’Orto, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

Breaking up is hard to do.

Luckily, if you like your broker, even if he or she transfers firms, you can likely stay on as a client. While this isn’t always the best idea—and there are a few questions to ask to find out if it is—if you are happy your broker, it might be worth it to move to a new firm. As the customer, you will start the process with a Transfer Instruction Form. You’ll want to keep a copy of this completed form, since, as the SEC notes, “most account transfer delays occur because the TIF is either incorrect or incomplete.” Continue reading

From Helping Farmers to Helping Investors: My Clinic Story

By Dowdy White, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

As an undergraduate student who studied Agricultural Communication at the University of Georgia, it seems weird that I would be a law student interning in the Investor Advocacy Clinic and working to help clients navigate through their complicated investing schemes and work through the FINRA arbitration process, right? Well, maybe not as much as you would think. Though these two academic areas of study seem wholly unrelated, they are more alike than you could ever imagine.

When I was an undergraduate student, I was often asked if my Agricultural Communication degree was real or if I enjoyed talking to plants and animals. No matter how many times I was asked these questions, I always found myself laughing and trying my best to explain to people what my degree did for me. I always told interested people that my degree was in the area of talking and communicating with people who needed my help. Yes, I took copious amounts of journalism and public relations classes on top of a rigorous agricultural curriculum, but I also spent my time helping and listening to people who had a problem. Continue reading

Interviewing Skills and the HeLP Clinic

By: Burton Miller, Spring 2018 HeLP Legal Services Clinic Intern

Recently, I started interviewing for jobs and externships as I tried to figure out what I was going to do for the Summer.  As someone who had not had a formal interview since last Spring, I was nervous about the upcoming interviews, especially since I felt that the last interviews I had done were not the best.  However, I found that this round of Spring interviews were much easier and much less painful than last year.  I found myself leaving my nervousness at the entrance, and being able to have genuine conversations with potential employers.  I think that much of the increase in being comfortable for interviews is due to my experience in the HeLP Clinic.

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Friday’s Files: Records of Correspondence

Ben Dell’Orto, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

Though brokers are mostly identified with the buying and selling of securities on behalf of the investor, they serve another important role: advisor.

While there is a difference between a broker, who acts as an advisor with an “o” and an investment adviser with an “e,” both have responsibilities to their clients when providing guidance. Over the course of the broker/client relationship, it is important to frequently check in with your broker to keep track of how your account is handled. Whether you are giving precise instructions on what to buy or sell or you have given your broker full control of your account, it is wise to keep track of how your investments are doing and ask any questions you might have. Continue reading

Investor Advocacy Clinic: Learning and Helping Others

By Abigail Howd, Spring 2018 IAC Student Intern

Prior to taking the clinic’s prerequisite class, I knew next to nothing about investing. I saw the direct effects of the 2008 recession because my parents were real estate agents with their own investment properties. Beyond that, I paid little attention to the upwards or downwards trends in the stock exchanges. I had heard of the Securities and Exchange Commission, but I must admit, I did not know what it did or what securities were. Even during my time between college and graduate school when I had a fulltime job, investing was never on my mind. I was too focused on paying down my student loans. Investing sounded like something people with a lot of money did for fun to get more money. I knew it could pay off, but it could also be extremely risky.

After taking the class and working in the clinic, I know I was right about something—investing can be risky. However, I was wrong about who invests and why. Our clinic helps investors from all walks of life who have smaller-dollar claims and who could not otherwise afford legal representation. They have many different reasons for investing. Some are planning for retirement, others are trying to help their children attend college, and still others are simply using investments as an additional form of income. Regardless of how much money people invest or their reasons for doing so, the important part is that whomever they entrust with their money has their best interests at heart.

I have learned a lot about securities and the various laws and rules that govern them in the past year. In doing so, I discovered that even knowing the bare minimum, I could help people. I learned that I do not always have to know the answers right away. I just need to know how to find the answers when I need them. My favorite parts of clinic were helping people recover their hard-earned money and realizing how quickly I could absorb a whole new field of law. I am proud of all the things my team was able to accomplish over the semester. Mainly, I am grateful for the opportunity to develop my professional identity while working on real cases and helping real people.

A First-Hand Look at the Interdisciplinary Approach of the HeLP Legal Services Clinic

By: Adam Harper, Spring 2018 HeLP Legal Services Clinic Intern

The HeLP Legal Services Clinic provides and emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to legal representation. At the outset of my involvement, I possessed minimal knowledge of the direction that the course would guide me. I knew that I would have the privilege of assisting underserved families who do not otherwise have access to legal services. However, I did not know exactly what that entailed.

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