Alumni, Judges Facilitate Professionalism Sessions During Orientation

Each fall, the State Bar of Georgia’s Professionalism Committee and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, host a professionalism orientation for incoming students at all six law schools in Georgia to discuss the personally and professionally challenging nature of professionalism issues, which they may face in school and as practicing attorneys. Nicole G. Iannarone, assistant clinical professor and chair of the Professionalism Committee, helped organize this year’s programs including the one at Georgia State Law.

“We are hoping to foster even greater collaboration between the bar and the law schools, to ensure we underscore the professionalism ideals they hope to foster in their students,” Iannarone said.

For Georgia State Law’s program, professors and deans recruited 17 judges and 36 members of the bar, many of which are Georgia State Law alumni, to facilitate interactive discussions based on hypothetical situations and cases that have occurred in law schools or in the practice of law. Continue reading

Georgia State and Harvard Tax Clinics Team Up on Amicus Brief

As part of its mission, the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic represents low-income taxpayers in controversies with the Internal Revenue Service with the goal of maximizing financial well-being and protecting taxpayer rights.

This summer, the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Tax Clinic Director, Ted Afield, along with two student attorneys, Misty Gann and Nikki Bhakhri worked with the Harvard Federal Tax Clinic, to co-author an Amicus Brief filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The brief described to the court how low-income taxpayers, seeking to contest certain penalties, suffer when they are required to pay the penalties in-full before being allowed a court hearing.  The Georgia State Law and Harvard Law low-income tax clinics sought to illustrate to the court that the statute, which resulted in the full payment rule, was created for a category of penalties covered in very isolated circumstances.  The list of penalties has since been expanded exponentially by the Internal Revenue Service and this expansion reaches a greater number of taxpayers, many of which Congress did not intend to be affected by the full-payment rule. In practice, low-income taxpayers are disadvantaged because they are unable to pay in full, thus barred from judicial review. The immunity of review the Internal Revenue Service is afforded in these instances can have devastating effects on low-income taxpayers.

Fall 2017 IAC Interns Begin Work

The Investor Advocacy Clinic is back for another academic year.  Our fall 2017 student interns began their work on August 11, 2017 with a full day orientation and boot camp.  Two of our interns are returning from prior semesters, Robert Noens and Qudsia Shafiq.  Lynn McKeel, Eric Peters, Alisa Radut, and Abigail Warren join the clinic for their first semester.

IAC students learned about the clinic and its work with regular, retail investors during the orientation.  They developed relationships with their colleagues in the Tax Clinic and joined together to discuss best practices in client interviewing.  With multiple active matters to kick off the semester, from investigating whether a claim exists to preparing interactive investor education, the interns are ready to jump in head first to the clinic’s work.

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!

Opening Your First Brokerage Account: Am I Picking the Right Account Type for My Needs?

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

In the last edition of the five-part series “Opening Your First Brokerage Account” we addressed the question “Do I really know all the fees associated with my account?”  Today, we will attempt to answer the question “Am I picking the right account type for my needs?”   To begin with, most brokerage firms offer at least two types of accounts, a cash account and a margin loan account (known as a margin account).

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Opening Your First Brokerage Account: Did I Ask the Right Questions?

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

In our last edition of the five-part series “Opening Your First Brokerage Account” we addressed the question “Am I Picking the Right Account Type for My Needs?”  In this final edition, we will consider the question “Did I ask the right questions?”   Asking the right questions will help you to invest wisely and avoid potential pitfalls.  No matter what your level of investing experience, don’t be too quick to sign, after all it’s your money!

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Alumni and Faculty Recognized at Atlanta Bar Association Awards Luncheon

Georgia State Law alumni and faculty were recognized at the Atlanta Bar Association annual meeting and awards luncheon on May 24.

The association swore in Margaret Vath, senior lecturer of law, as president; Nicole G. Iannarone, assistant clinical professor, as vice president/president-elect; and A. Craig Cleland (J.D. ’92) as treasurer for the 2017-18 term.

Vath and Iannarone’s prominent leadership positions prompted Lisa Liang (J.D. ’08) and Jessica Wood (J.D. ’94) to also serve on the 2017-18 board.

“I value the Atlanta Bar’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and I look forward to collaborating with Maggie, Nicole, and other board members to make a positive change in our profession,” Wood said.