Thursday, January 28, 2010
George Smaragdis (202) 728-8988
Washington, D.C. — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation today announced $1 million in grants to launch four law school clinics that will provide legal help to underserved investors involved in securities disputes. These start-up grants will help fill the gap in legal representation for investors with small claims who do not have the financial resources to obtain legal counsel. The Foundation awarded $250,000 each to:
The FINRA Foundation chose these law schools because they are well-positioned to launch and maintain clinics that will allow supervised law students to take on 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 program and provide investor education and outreach in their community. Students who participate in these clinics will not receive compensation, but will benefit from serving the public interest, earning course credit and gaining experience representing clients in actual cases.
"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.
These grants build upon the success of previous FINRA Foundation efforts to support securities clinics. In 2004, the Foundation funded the first securities arbitration clinic in the Midwest at Northwestern University School of Law. Northwestern also developed a guidebook for establishing law school investor advocacy clinics. In 2006, the Foundation funded a grant to the Pace Law School Investor Rights Clinic to develop and distribute an educational guide to help small, individual investors understand their legal rights and responsibilities in order to avoid disputes, or seek resolution through arbitration or mediation. Both of these resources will be used as part of this grant program.
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation is the largest foundation in the U.S. dedicated to investor education. Its mission is to provide investors with high quality, easily accessible information and tools to better understand the markets and the basic principles of saving and investing. To further this mission, the Foundation awards grants to fund educational programs and research aimed at segments of the investing public who could benefit from additional resources. Since inception, the FINRA Foundation has approved nearly $50 million in financial education and investor protection initiatives through a combination of grants and targeted projects. For details about grant programs and other FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit www.finrafoundation.org.