Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Nancy Condon (202) 728-8379
Sarah Bohn (202) 728-8988
NASD Foundation Funds Model Law Clinic in Chicago
Washington, D.C.— In an effort to provide legal assistance for small investors with securities disputes in the Chicago area, the NASD Investor Education Foundation announced it is funding a project to establish an Investor Protection Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law.
The Investor Protection Center at Northwestern is one of fewer than 10 such centers in the country and will provide representation to investors with limited income who have disputes with stockbrokers, investment advisors, or securities firms. The center will give persons with insufficient income or with small claims (typically under $100,000) the ability to obtain private representation in resolving securities disputes through arbitration.
"We think it's important that small investors with securities disputes have access to legal representation," said Robert R. Glauber, Chairman & CEO of NASD, who also serves as Chairman of the NASD Investor Education Foundation. "By providing a roadmap for other law schools to follow, we hope to help increase the number of clinics handling these types of cases and give more investors with limited resources access to legal assistance in resolving their securities disputes."
The center will educate and train Northwestern Law students in securities arbitration and mediation under the supervision of J. Samuel Tenenbaum, an experienced litigator and clinical assistant professor.
"Students will be responsible for interviewing and counseling clients, explaining the arbitration and mediation process, investigating and selecting potential arbitrators, conducting discovery, negotiating settlements, and participating in mediations," said Tenenbaum. "The center will also serve as a model for how to establish, operate, and fund similar law clinics in underserved areas."
David S. Ruder, professor at Northwestern University School of Law and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, offered his insights about the new center. Ruder was chairman of the NASD's Securities Arbitration Task Force that made recommendations to the NASD on "Securities Arbitration Reform" in 1966.
"The NASD's investor arbitration program is a fair and efficient method for resolving disputes between investors and their brokers," he said. "The Bluhm Legal Clinic's Investor Protection Center will help to assure that increasing numbers of investors will have access to that fine program."
The NASD Investor Education Foundation, established in 2003, supports educational programs and research with the goal of providing investors with high-quality, easily accessible information and tools to better understand investing and the markets. The Foundation recently awarded more than $1 million in total to 11 organizations, including Northwestern University School of Law, for new educational programs and research projects targeting the underserved segments of the population. The Foundation's grant initiatives complement NASD's own investor education efforts. For details about grant programs and other new initiatives of the Foundation, visit www.nasdfoundation.org.
NASD is the leading private-sector provider of financial regulatory services, dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation. NASD believes that understanding should precede investing - and that education is often the best form of investor protection. NASD's broad range of investor education programs include Investor Alerts, brochures and online resource guides on such critical topics as mutual fund class shares and 401(k) and college savings plans. This information is distributed through its Web site, www.nasd.com, printed materials and Investor Forums.
The Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law trains law students to be skilled, ethical, and reform-minded professionals. Students learning lawyering skills such as interviewing, counseling, negotiating, writing, and appellate and trial advocacy and are urged to scrutinize the quality of justice. In addition to the Investor Protection Center, students represent live clients through the Children and Family Justice Center, the Center for International Human Rights, and the Center on Wrongful Convictions. Work done by Bluhm Legal Clinic students, faculty, and staff often contributes to legal reform initiatives across the country.