Investor Justice and Education Clinic (IJEC)

Who can apply? 2Ls and 3Ls

Required Prerequisite Course(s): Any one of the following courses: Securities Regulation, Broker-Dealer Regulation, Introduction to Investment Law and Practice, Hedge Funds, or Corporations (concurrent enrollment in the IJEC and any of the above mentioned courses is not permitted)

Is this program year-long or semester-long? Semester long with option to enroll as an “advanced” student in a second semester, with the professor’s approval.

How many credits? 4

The Investor Justice and Education Clinic (“IJEC”) officially opened in Fall 2010 when Howard University Law School was one of only a very few law schools in the country selected by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, Inc. to receive a generous grant to fund the development and operation of an investor protection and education clinical law program. The IJEC offers a beginning level program (“IJEC I”) as a one semester clinic open to 2L and 3L students. The IJEC also offers an advanced level program (“IJEC II”) for students who successfully complete IJEC I.

The IJEC is generally open to 10-14 students per semester. In order to enroll in the IJEC, students must submit an application to the Clinic, have an interview with the Supervising Attorney, and be accepted into the IJEC by the Supervising Attorney and Clinic’s Director.  In order to qualify for the IJEC, students must take or complete any one of the following courses as either co-requisite course or a pre-requisite course: Business Organizations, Corporations, Broker-dealer, Securities Regulation I, Securities Regulation II, Investment Law and Practice, Hedge Funds, or similar subject matter courses.

We also recommend that students take courses in evidence, trial advocacy, accounting for lawyers, and alternative dispute resolution to prepare for the work of the IJEC.

The IJEC combines classroom instruction with practical skill development while students work on investor client cases against securities broker-dealers.  Students attend classroom instruction for 1.5 hours per week to help provide them with the basic knowledge of the financial markets, financial products, investor protection laws and regulations, and securities arbitration and mediation before Financial Industry Regulatory Authority – Dispute Resolution.  Student Attorneys are assigned investor cases and pursue claims often against some of the largest financial services companies in the nation, as well as their brokers and investment advisers. Students will handle cases involving a variety of financial products and transactions including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, stock options, Real Estate Investment Trust (“REITs”), variable annuities, limited partnerships, and initial public offerings.

The instruction and practical experience students will experience will also include topics such as the regulation of securities and market participants under the Securities Acts of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; the regulation of securities broker-dealers by FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission;  how to analyze investor, broker-dealer, and investment adviser documents, including securities account statements and customer agreements; how to recognize potential claims against securities professionals; representing investor clients in FINRA-DR arbitration proceedings; gaining a working knowledge of the FINRA-DR Code of Arbitration Procedure and Mediation; securities portfolio and risk analysis; how capital markets and financial instruments work; and the trading of complex financial products.

Class instruction also includes case presentations, mock arbitration case practice, analysis of ethical, strategic and client representation issues, as well as litigation planning and skill development.

Students are assigned  actual investor cases accepted by the IJEC, and conduct the following activities:  interview investor; conduct factual investigations; analyze investor and broker documentation; 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; Discovery and pre-Hearing conferences with Arbitrators and opposing counsel; and conduct settlement negotiations on behalf of investor clients with opposing counsel.

The student’s education and training is augmented by guest speakers from FINRA-DR, and the financial services and legal community. In addition, the IJEC makes visits to important financial market institutions such as the New York Stock Exchange, where students receive onsite educational instruction from market professionals during the trading day.

Additionally, students also have an opportunity to work with a team of fellow IJEC students to design, implement, and present at least one investor education and outreach program for the under-served investing community each semester. These programs are designed for the students to serve their communities by providing investment protection education to schools, church groups, retirement communities, scouts, sororities and fraternities, and others. Students provide attendees with a basic understanding of financial markets, professionals, and products, as well as their rights as investors. 

The investor education programs also inform the community of the IJEC’s free legal services offered to the under-served investing public. 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 offsite in the community as well as at Howard University.