Seton Hall Law has been awarded a $250,000 grant to launch the Investor Advocacy Project. Students will work under supervision to provide legal representation to investors with limited income or small dollar claims who have a dispute with an investment professional and are unable to obtain legal counsel. Claims may include those resulting from unsuitable investment strategies and unauthorized trading activity. Such individuals often encounter difficulty in securing legal representation on a contingency or cost-contained hourly fee basis.
The project is made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The FINRA Foundation is the largest foundation in the United States dedicated to investor education. The Seton Hall Law Investor Advocacy Project is the first FINRA Foundation funded resource in New Jersey.
Students enrolled in the Investor Advocacy Project will utilize negotiation, mediation and arbitration to resolve cases on behalf of investors who have lost savings. The project is the latest new course offered under the Seton Hall Law Skills Curriculum, which is dedicated to providing students with training in practical lawyering skills.
Professor Maya Grosz, who oversees the Investor Advocacy Project and directs the Skills Curriculum, explained how the new initiative furthers Seton Hall Law’s dual commitment to promote access to justice and experiential learning. “We can serve small investors most effectively if we can help resolve their cases out of court, since litigation is costly and time consuming. At the same time, our students can gain hands-on experience in dispute resolution – the manner by which the vast majority of cases are resolved in modern legal practice. The ultimate benefit is that our students can make a difference for an individual who has a dispute with an investment professional but who might not have the resources to seek legal assistance.”
The Investor Advocacy Project includes an education outreach component which will assist individuals in making informed investment choices. Project members will make direct presentations to community and senior centers, libraries and local Chambers of Commerce.
Professor David M. White, who directs both the Investor Advocacy Project and the Conflict Management Program, explained their complementary missions. “Seton Hall Law is among the vanguard of legal centers in its promotion of the efficient, expeditious resolution of commercial conflict. This new course will build upon our robust curriculum in securities law while also equipping our graduates with the dispute resolution skills they will need to be successful lawyers in this area of practice.”
The Investor Advocacy Project will also afford students uncommon opportunity to hone case management and client counseling skills. Professor White envisions an exciting future.
“The New York metro area is home to the world’s financial centers. We anticipate taking full advantage of our close proximity to New York by inviting leading experts in securities law to invest their time and talent in preparing Seton Hall students to advocate for small investors. Further, we look forward to helping these investors by evaluating the merits of their claim and educating them on their rights.”
We welcome case referrals for investors whose claims are less than $100,000. Please contact Professor David M. White at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-642-8084.
The Investor Advocacy Project will enroll its first class of students in Fall 2011.