Becoming More Comfortable in my Lawyerly Skin

By Majda Muhic, Spring 2017 Student Intern

I returned to the Clinic for a second semester looking forward to deepening some of the knowledge I’d gained in the previous semester and becoming more comfortable in my lawyerly skin.  As I leave only a few months later, I realize that the Clinic has given me both – and much more.

Over the course of this second semester, I negotiated on behalf of a client with seasoned attorneys on the other side, drafted multiple demand letters, edited and re-edited agreements, and conducted an in-depth evaluation of a potential case. This evaluation taught me not only about possible legal claims harmed investors may bring against their brokers but also about the – at times frustrating and at times exhilarating – mental acrobatics of identifying legal claims in light of real-life factual scenarios. While this exercise resembled a legal writing course, it was real and taught me a lot more about what lawyers actually do – about the inevitable judgment calls lawyers must make in face of factual uncertainties that ultimately affect real people and their lives.

Over the course of the semester, I also had the opportunity to assist the Georgia Secretary of State Securities Division with investigating an investor complaint and with researching the cutting-edge issue of regulating robo-advisors. This regulatory perspective complemented the advocacy angle of my other Clinic work and provided a glimpse in how the different pieces of the legal system puzzle work together to define and enforce the law.  I used this knowledge to draft a comment letter on behalf of the Clinic and its clients in response to a proposal by FINRA to change one of its rules. The impact of our work at the Clinic is felt far beyond the insular walls of the school, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this effort.

I am probably most grateful for the relationships I have formed working with my teammates – for getting to work closely with other student interns who I now get to call not only colleagues but also friends.  The Clinic taught me about the value of open communication and collaboration for both effective legal practice and learning. Neither the amount and quality of the work we all did together nor the depth of our learning would have been possible without the supporting environment we all worked together to create.  I feel infinitely more prepared to embark on the next step of my legal journey and enter the legal profession in the fall than I did before joining the Clinic last August – and for this I am truly grateful.