Suffolk University Law School is opening a new Investor Advocacy Clinic intended to help small investors who believe they have been mistreated by a stockbroker, but do not have the financial resources to obtain a lawyer. The clinic is being established with a $250,000 grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation.

“It’s particularly significant that the clinic is opening now, at a time when so many Americans are feeling great financial pressure,” said Law Professor Dwight Golann.

The grant has allowed Suffolk to hire an experienced Boston litigator, David Gibbs, as practitioner-in-residence and co-director.

“Our goal is to give ordinary investors crucial assistance in vindicating their rights and at the same time teach students how to provide first-class representation to clients,” said Gibbs.

Education & service

Suffolk University Law School has a comprehensive clinical program that offers services to underserved populations while giving students the opportunity to act as attorneys for actual clients with assistance from faculty supervisors.

“This is a school that values the practice of law,” said Jeff Pokorak, director of Clinical Programs. “The new Investor Advocacy Clinic, together with our other clinics and internships, allows Suffolk to graduate more students who are practice-ready and prepared for the immediate challenges of the legal marketplace.”

Other law schools receiving FINRA Foundation grants are Florida International University College of Law, Miami; Howard University School of Law, Washington D.C.; and Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, Calif. The Foundation made its grant decisions based on the recipient law schools’ readiness to launch and maintain clinics that will allow supervised law students to assist underserved investors involved in securities disputes. As a condition of the grant, each law school was required to demonstrate institutional support of the clinic beyond the three-year grant period.

"These grants will significantly expand the geographic reach of securities advocacy clinics available to investors. All four law schools will use these start-up grants to create dynamic clinics that provide a real service to investors in their communities," said FINRA Foundation President John Gannon.