Suffolk Law School opens new clinic

Students to provide counsel for wronged small investors
Article by: Derek Anderson

“Our goal is to give ordinary investors crucial assistance in vindicating their rights…”

A new law clinic, the Investor Advocacy Clinic, has opened at Suffolk Law School for small investors who feel they have been wronged illegally by investment advisors. The clinic was funded by a $250,000 grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation with the purpose of providing for investors who do not have the financial resources to hire a lawyer.

“People are pretty excited about clinics in general,” said second year law student Tristan Colangelo. “It’s a pretty big aspect of things and a lot of them fill up quickly.”

Clinics give law students a chance at practicing law for class credit. It allows students to take on client responsibilities, have their own clients, or represent clients in court.

“You’re able to be part of the clinic, which means you have the duties of an actual lawyer and you work under someone who has passed the Bar,” said Colangelo. “It’s your selling point. From the second you step in, you have to make your resume better. It helps a lot.”

With the clinic’s opening, students seem to be getting excited for new opportunities to act as attorneys for real clients.

“I’m graduating in a semester,” said law student Jay Wadman, “but I’m glad to hear that there’s a new clinic.”

“I cannot wait. I’m very excited!” said second year law student Kristi Kerwin.

“A lot of people want to take part in clinics,” said Alice Hogue, a second year law student. “It’s always good to have a new one.”

Even though the clinic is open to everyone, it has limited space and preference is given to students who have taken specific classes through the law school.

The $250,000 grant has given more opportunities to students as well as new options for the clinic. With the new money, Suffolk Law decided to hire David Gibbs, an experienced Boston litigator, as practitioner-in-residence and co-director.

“Our goal is to give ordinary investors crucial assistance in vindicating their rights and at the same time teach students how to provide first-class representation to clients,” said Gibbs.

Suffolk Law School was one out of four schools given a $250,000 grant from FINRA. Florida International University College of Law, Miami; Howard University School of Law, Washington D.C.; and Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, Calif. were also chosen to expand their clinical programs.

“This is a school that values the practice of law,” said Jeff Pokorak, director of Clinical Programs. “The new Investor Advocacy Clinic, together with our other clinics and internships, allows Suffolk to graduate more students who are practice-ready and prepared for the immediate challenges of the legal marketplace.”

With new opportunities on the horizon, law students get ready for a new clinic, opening new options to their futures.

“These grants will significantly expand the geographic reach of securities advocacy clinics available to investors,” said FINRA Foundation President John Gannon. “All four law schools will use these start-up grants to create dynamic clinics that provide a real service to investors in their communities.”