“I would compare it to army boot camp,” says William A. Jacobson, associate clinical professor and director of Cornell’s Securities Law Clinic, of the training three clinic students undertook in preparation for the recent Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon. Coached by Birgitta Siegel, adjunct professor of law, second-year law students Alex Poe, Malavika Rao, and Yingchen Xiong spent six weeks researching and practicing for the event, where they took first place in the mediation competition, one of three competitions within the Triathlon.
Co-sponsored by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and St. John’s University School of Law, the Triathlon drew twenty teams from schools around the country to New York City on October 13-14. Playing the roles of attorneys and clients, participants navigated the negotiation, mediation, and arbitration of a dispute scenario, with members of FINRA’s roster of experienced neutrals serving as mediators, arbitrators and judges.
"I'm so proud of these three students, who sacrificed nights, weekends, and even part of fall break to prepare for this competition," says Jacobson, who praises the experience as a valuable introduction to real-world challenges. In addition to researching the substantive matters of the case, the students had to work under strict time constraints and hone three very different sets of skills for the three competitions.
They also had to work effectively as a team, a skill Jacobson stresses in the Securities Law Clinic. On the whole, he says, “The project presented students with many aspects of what it means to be a lawyer, as opposed to a law student.”
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 Clinic also provides representation and community outreach in the largely rural and underserved "Southern Tier" region of upstate New York.
-- Owen Lubozynski