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Clinical Programs - Securities Law Clinic

About the Clinic

The Securities Law Clinic provides students with an opportunity to develop fundamental investigatory and advocacy skills in the context of the substantive laws governing investments.

The Securities Law Clinic fills a need in the largely rural “Southern Tier” region of upstate New York, where the public does not generally have access to an extensive private bar with experience in investor rights. A focus of the Securities Law Clinic is representation of public investors in disputes subject to arbitration at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

As part of its community outreach, the Securities Law Clinic also provides public education as to investment fraud, with particular attention to investment schemes targeting the elderly and retirees. Substantive legal topics covered in the clinic include the scope and nature of binding arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act and New York law, and the legal and regulatory remedies available to defrauded investors. Coursework includes training in skills such as interviewing potential clients, evaluating potential claims, preparing pleadings, conducting discovery, representing clients at hearings, and negotiating settlements.

Students will have the opportunity under faculty supervision to:

  • Represent aggrieved investors
  • Provide public education to community groups as to investment fraud
  • Draft comment letters to regulatory authorities on pending rule making
  • Prepare amicus briefs on investment and arbitration law in pending court cases
  • Engage in research on securities laws and investment products
  • Interact with attorneys and regulators on issues related to investor protection

Classwork includes coverage of investment products, and presentations by nationally-recognized experts on topics applicable to evaluation of investments, including:

  • Excessive trading and “churning”
  • Suitability
  • Misrepresentation and fraud
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Products such as variable annuities and equity-indexed annuities

Securities Law Clinic I is the introductory course. Securities Law Clinic II is an optional second semester course for students who have completed Securities Law Clinic I and who seek to further hone their advocacy and investor representation skills.