Howard University

Investor Justice and Education Clinic (IJEC)

Investor Justice & Education Clinic (IJEC)
Bruce Sanders, Esq., Adjunct Professor and Supervising Attorney

The Investor Justice and Education Clinic (“IJEC”) officially opened in Fall 2010, following the award of a generous grant by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Second and third year law students are allowed to apply for enrollment in the IJEC. IJEC is operated as one semester course, for four (4) credit hours. Students who successfully complete the basic IJEC course have the opportunity to enroll in the IJEC for an additional semester as an advanced student. The IJEC is generally open to a maximum of 10 students per semester. In order to enroll in the IJEC, students must submit an application, be interviewed by the Supervising Attorney, and be accepted into the IJEC by the Supervising Attorney or CLC Director. In order to qualify for the IJEC, students must successfully complete a pre-requisite course, or take a co-requisite course, in Securities Regulation, Broker-Dealer Regulation, Introduction to Investment Law and Practice, or Corporations. We also recommend that students take courses in evidence, trial advocacy, accounting for lawyers, and alternative dispute resolution.

IJEC combines classroom instruction with work on actual investor cases. Students attend two hours of classroom instruction per week to provide them with the requisite understanding of the financial markets, investor protection laws and regulations, and securities arbitration and mediation to successfully handle and resolve investor claims. The instruction includes topics such as the regulation of securities by the Securities Acts of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934; the regulation of securities broker-dealers by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA-DR”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission; how to analyze investor documents, including securities account statements and customer agreements, and recognize securities trading violations; the FINRA-DR arbitration and mediation procedures available to resolve investor–broker disputes; securities portfolio theory and risk avoidance analysis and strategies; how capital markets and financial instruments work and interact; the purchase of complex financial instruments in the securities markets; and statutory and rule interpretation. Class instruction also involves case presentations, mock arbitration case practice, analysis of ethical, strategic and client representation issues, as well as litigation planning and skill development.

Students work on actual investor cases accepted by the Supervising Attorney, and do the following: interview investors by telephone and in person; conduct factual investigations; analyze investor and broker documentation; investigate and research legal issues; draft memoranda; determine if investors claims are eligible for FINRA-DR arbitration; determine theories of damages regarding investor monetary losses; draft FINRA-DR arbitration pleadings, including Statements of Claim, Requests for Documents and Information, Motions, Briefs, Subpoenas and Orders for production of documents and witness appearances at Hearings; conduct pre-Hearing conferences with Arbitrators and opposing counsel; and conduct settlement negotiations with opposing counsel.

Additionally, students design, implement, and participate in at least one investor education and outreach program for the underserved investing community each semester. These programs are designed to provide investment education to the community by, among other things, conducting investment workshops and seminars to teach investors their rights and help them protect themselves from harmful investment schemes. These programs also inform the community of the free legal services offered by the IJEC. These programs also help the IJEC develop and leverage contacts and relationships with many community groups, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, government agencies, senior living organizations, fraternities, sororities, and other organizations. The IJEC conducts these programs at sites in the community, as well as at the Law School.

October 9, 2015