Robert Noens Returns to Investor Advocacy Clinic for a Second Semester

The Investor Advocacy Clinic is pleased to welcome back Robert Noens for a second semester in fall 2017.  Noens returned to the clinic because it

“provides one of the few avenues of help to low-income and elderly investors, helping them achieve justice and financial relief after a difficult situation.  I want to help investors who have been wronged, and at the same time am gaining practical, real-world experience.”

Upon graduation in May 2018, Noens plans to practice as a plaintiff’s attorney, helping everyday people like he currently does in the clinic.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Donating After Hurricane Harvey

By: Megan Makuck, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

For most, natural disasters bring out the charitable side of people, but not everyone shares this warm hospitality. Scammers see these horrible occurrences as opportunities to take advantage of our generosity. Hurricane Harvey is no exception. People in Texas lost their homes, their jobs, maybe even friends or family. They are in a time of need, and we want to help these people. But before you run to your checkbook, do your homework to ensure you are not signing up for a disaster fraud. Below are the Do’s and Don’ts of donating after a natural disaster. Continue reading

Tax Clinic Participates in IRS Pro Bono Day

The Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic participated in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Atlanta Office of Chief Counsel’s inaugural Pro Bono Day on Saturday, August 26, 2017.  This day was designated to give taxpayers who have an upcoming case before the United States Tax Court an opportunity to talk with Counsel’s attorneys, as well as representatives from the IRS’s Collections and Appeals divisions, about settling their cases.  The Clinic’s attorneys and students were onsite to provide consultations for taxpayers, explain their rights and responsibilities under the Internal Revenue Code, and review documentation provided by the taxpayers to support their claims.

As a result of the Clinic and IRS’s joint efforts, 26 cases were reviewed.  Of those 26 cases, 21 cases were resolved and settlements were reached.  Surveys were completed by taxpayers about their experience, and the overwhelming majority of them felt meeting with Clinic representatives was helpful.  The students also enjoyed working with the taxpayers and considered the experience a tremendous learning opportunity.

“It was interesting to see how things worked on the other side.  I also enjoyed the experience of working with the taxpayers and being able to immediately resolve their issue with Counsel,” said student Elijah Davis a third year law student and Tax Clinic Graduate Research Assistant.

According to Tax Clinic II student William Spencer-Hampton, “We do great work here in the Tax Clinic, but the downside is that the process can sometimes take months to see the result of your efforts.  However, with Pro Bono Day we were able to immediately see within an hour a positive resolution.  To see the look on someone’s face when we resolved their issue was incredible.  It’s rare you get to change someone’s life in an hour of work, but we were able to do that on Saturday.”

The following members of the Clinic participated in Pro Bono Day: Neekul Bhakhri, Elijah Davis, Reena Patel, Shivani Patel, Robert Pratt, Derek Smith, William Spencer-Hampton, and Professors Ted Afield, Tameka Lester, Bonnie Rich and Bill Timm.

Megan Makuck Joins the Investor Advocacy Clinic

Megan Makuck joined the Investor Advocacy Clinic for its fall 2017 semester.  A graduate of Oglethorpe University with a degree in business administration, Makuck will graduate from the Georgia State University College of Law with a joint JD/MBA degree in May 2018.  Makuck joined the clinic because of her interest in securities law and to help those who otherwise would not be able to obtain a lawyer.  She says:

“The Investor Advocacy Clinic helps those who would otherwise not find legal representation – people depend on the clinic when they are at a vulnerable point and have already been harmed.  We work to remedy those harms.”

Upon graduation, Makuck plans to practice in business litigation.

Investor Advocacy Clinic Welcomes Abigail Warren

A graduate of the University of West Georgia with a degree in business management, Abigail Warren joined the Investor Advocacy Clinic in fall 2017 to gain experience representing clients while helping investors who have lost their retirement savings.

According to Warren,

“The Investor Advocacy Clinic helps investors who have been misled by brokers and who would otherwise be without resource.  We provide free legal assistance to qualified investors who might not otherwise have the opportunity to recoup their losses.”

What is Experiential Learning?

Law IAC

We hope that all students will join us at the College of Law’s Experiential Education Fair on Wednesday, September 13 at noon and 5:00 pm in the law school’s atrium.  You might be wondering what experiential education is, how it helps law students, and what opportunities law students have for experiential education at Georgia State law.  Here’s what the expert, Georgia State Law’s Dean of Experiential Education, Professor Lisa Bliss, says:

“The most powerful learning for law students occurs when they are able to link theory and practice. Georgia State Law students receive a strong foundation in academics, blended with practical skills education throughout the three years of law school. Our experiential curriculum allows students to become immersed in the practice of law through clinics, specialized courses that incorporate clients, externships and other courses that simulate working in a firm solving client matters.”

Interested in learning more? Read Professor Bliss’ full post on Experiential Education at Georgia State Law here.  And be sure to join us on Wednesday to meet with representatives of the experiential programs and learn more about our diverse offerings.

Lynn Mckeel Joins the Investor Advocacy Clinic

Lynn Mckeel joined the Investor Advocacy Clinic for its 2017 fall semester.  According to Mckeel, she joined the clinic because

“It is personal to me.  I have family members who were taken advantage of and defrauded out of thousands of dollars.  Unfortunately, attorneys did not think their loss was enough to warrant legal representation and investigation.  I hope my work in the clinic helps families in similar situations.  Fraudulent investments can have catastrophic effects on the financial well-being of an individual or family.  Those who have worked hard for their investments and savings deserve competent legal representation to ensure just compensation.  At the clinic, we recognize the hardships our clients have been dealt.”

Upon graduation in May 2019, Mckeel will establish a solo practice and partner with community minded attorneys.