Pepperdine University School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution was awarded a grant by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation to establish a comprehensive clinical education program in Investor Advocacy. Director Robert A. Uhl and Associate Director Judith Hale Norris
supervise the Investor Advocacy Clinic.
As a prerequisite to participation in the Clinic, Director Uhl teaches a two-hour, two- credit course on Arbitration Law in the Securities Industry during the Fall Semester to eligible second year law students and non-clinic eligible third year students. The course gives students an in-depth legal, procedural and practical knowledge of arbitration and mediation of investor disputes prior to representing clients. During the Fall course, Director Uhl and Associate Director Norris select five second year law students who must commit to continued participation in assigned clinic cases during the following spring and fall terms. During the summer, students are encouraged, but are not required, to be involved in their clinic cases. Students receive two units of credit for every semester they enroll in the Clinic.
The selected students do not receive compensation, but benefit from serving the public interest, earning course credit and gaining valuable experience representing clients in actual cases. Under supervision, the five students handle arbitrations and mediations before FINRA Dispute Resolution on behalf of California investors who have claims less than $100,000 and household incomes of less than $100,000 and who have arbitral disputes with their securities brokers and/or brokerage firms. In the Clinic, the students learn critical lawyering skills. For example, students interview potential clients, draft statements of claim, conduct discovery, prepare legal memoranda, work with experts who serve as financial consultants, and conduct arbitrations and mediations before FINRA Dispute Resolution
Another major goal of the Investor Advocacy Clinic is to educate the community and help investors to avoid becoming fraud victims. During the Spring 2011 semester, the Clinic students presented three programs at libraries in Los Angeles County entitled "Tricks of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud" based on material developed for the FINRA campaign designed to teach senior investors how to avoid becoming victims of fraud.
Meet the Faculty:
Robert A. Uhl sits as a FINRA arbitrator and is a member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA). Professor Uhl has appeared on Fox News and has been quoted on securities matters byThe Wall Street Journal, Registered Representative Magazine, CBS Marketwatch and by other members of the national and local press. Since 2005 Professor Uhl has been recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer by Los Angeles Magazine. Mr. Uhl has authored more than 25 articles in the securities arbitration field.
Professor Uhl was appointed as the first Director of the Pepperdine University School of Law's Investor Advocacy Clinic which received a grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to establish the clinic. He also teaches a course on securities arbitration. He is a member of the Council of Distinguished Advisors of the Straus Institute of Pepperdine University School of Law.
Professor Uhl received his J.D. degree from Fordham University where he was a member of the Fordham Law Review and on the Dean's List.
Judith Hale Norris is the Associate Director of the Pepperdine University School of Law Investor Advocacy Clinic which received a generous grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation. Ms. Norris previously served as Vice President and Director for the Western Region of FINRA Dispute Resolution. Before joining FINRA in 1986, Ms. Norris served as Chief Staff Counsel for the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She also served as an Assistant US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and as a trial and appellate attorney for the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Ms. Norris received her Bachelors degree from the University of Maine and her Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law. She received her Mediator Certificate from the Institute of Conflict Management.
Ms. Norris is the Co-Chair of the Council of Distinguished Advisors, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law.
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