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Straus Institute Awarded FINRA Grant for Securities Investor Advocacy Clinic

Pepperdine’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution has been awarded a $ 250,000 grant by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation. The grant will establish a Securities Investor Advocacy Clinic at Pepperdine.

The Securities Investor Advocacy Clinic will provide legal representation for underserved investors involved in securities disputes. FINRA funds these clinics to fill the gap in representation for investors who have small claims and lack the financial resources to obtain legal counsel.

Experienced attorney Robert Uhl supervises the clinic. Judith Norris, the former Western Regional Director for FINRA, is the Associate Director of the clinic and will focus on community outreach educational programs.  Students must take the Arbitration Law in the Securities Industry course, taught by Uhl in the fall, in order to be eligible for the clinic. The formal clinic will begin this January with five students but is accepting appropriate cases now.

“If you’re interested in representing investors, this is the way to go about learning how,” says Uhl, who has more than 20 years of experience in securities arbitration. “It’s also a tremendous opportunity to provide legal service to the community. Many investors have lost under $100,000, which is considered a small claim. Lawyers often won’t take their cases, and the investors often don’t have the money to pay for legal counsel.”

The securities investor advocacy clinic will become Pepperdine’s fifth clinical program joining the Pepperdine Legal Aid and Family Law clinics at the Union Rescue Mission, the Special Education Advocacy Clinic, and the Asylum Clinic.