The Law Clinic & Justice Center of Albany Law School has received a $490,000 grant to help establish a clinical legal studies program that will provide legal representation to low-income or other underserved investors who have been victimized by abusive investment brokers.
The grant money, the result of litigation settlement from the Office of the New York Attorney General, will be provided over a five-year period.
Under faculty supervision, students will represent low-income investors in negotiations and arbitration proceedings before the National Association of Securities Dealers and the New York Stock Exchange. Students will be trained to interview and counsel clients, evaluate potential claims, prepare pleadings and negotiate settlements.
"The Securities Arbitration Clinic will provide an excellent opportunity for Albany Law students to assist small investors who typically have no access to legal representation," said Nancy Maurer, clinical professor of law and co-director of the Albany Law Clinic & Justice Center. "Not only will our students gain valuable experience and perhaps become inspired to pursue this line of work, but they will help a part of our community that right now has nowhere else to turn."
The Securities Arbitration Clinic will also focus on educating those most prone to abusive securities sales practices about their rights and remedies as consumers of financial services. Investor rights materials and training will be targeted to senior citizen organizations and other groups serving individuals who are elderly or have a disability.
The grant comes one month after the Clinic received its largest gift ever -- $1 million from Sherry Gold to establish the Barry Gold '70 Health Law Clinical Program Endowment Fund. That gift will support legal representation for low-income clients with cancer or other chronic medical conditions, and provide training on legal rights for clients, advocates, health care staff, physicians and students.
Albany Law School will hire a faculty member to oversee the Securities Arbitration Clinic. The Albany Law Clinic & Justice Center plans to enroll students and take on clients starting August 2007.