The Investor Advocacy Clinic: Our Little Law Firm

By Qudsia Shafiq, Spring 2017 Student Intern

I entered the Investor Advocacy Clinic with the naïve goal of mastering securities. While I may not have “mastered” securities, I certainly achieved my goal of learning about securities and securities-related laws – but surprisingly, I left with much more: lifelong friendships, mentors with professionally diverse backgrounds, experiences with clients at different stages in the client relationship, and ultimately, a sense of accomplishment that I could not have achieved in another class.

Helping a client obtain a favorable result within the first few weeks of the clinic was a rewarding start to the semester and reinforced the clinic’s primary goal of helping clients with securities-related issues through arbitration. This set a positive tone for what was yet to come. But the clinic’s flexibility in selecting topics and issues to address, determining which cases to take on, accepting a variety of clients, and being open to collaborate with other organizations to address relevant issues is what allowed it to be an invaluable experience.

This flexible approach directly resulted in students having the opportunity to participate and learn about a variety of issues. How many students can say they researched cutting-edge issues in the financial industry, addressed the current administration’s stance on fiduciary duties, participated in phone conferences with leading lawyers across the country, and did so all in one semester while independently handling cases from intake forward?

In retrospect, joining the clinic was one of the best decisions I have made in law school thus far. Unlike my externships, internships, and jobs, the Investor Advocacy Clinic has provided me the opportunity to undertake the assignments I would be given at a law firm, exposed me to the variety of issues even a niche-practice encounters, all within the comfort of an in-house clinic. This little law firm enjoys abundant resources, strong bonds within and with other clinics, where advice and input is always kindly offered and receiving feedback is the norm. And this is exactly why I can’t wait to come back for my second semester of IAC Clinic II in the fall!