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SEC to hold law school summit on free legal services to underrepresented investors

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2024 | Securities and Compliance

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced it will be holding an event next month drawing attention to the need for underrepresented investors to have access to free legal services.

The 2024 Investor Advocacy Clinic Summit, hosted by the SEC’s Office of the Ombuds, will be held at SEC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on March 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. It will also be live streamed at

The event is described as an opportunity for law students and their professors to engage with SEC staff and invited guests about the issues they have addressed and lessons they have learned while providing free legal services to investors in need.

The Summit will feature remarks from the SEC Chair, SEC Commissioners, Division Directors, the Investor Advocate, and the Director of FINRA Dispute Resolution Services. Keynote remarks will be delivered by Nicole Iannarone, Chair of FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee and Professor of the Drexel University Kline School of Law.

Among those invited to the event are law schools without investor advocacy clinics, many of which are located in areas of the U.S. with few free legal services for investors.

“Investors who cannot afford private counsel are significantly disadvantaged in arbitration or litigation with their financial professionals,” said SEC Ombuds Stacy Puente. “The clinics help level that playing field, advocating for the personal interests of these investors.”

The program will address the impact of the students’ legal work on their clients, their law schools, their communities, and on the students themselves. Students will also participate in panel discussions with SEC staff about investor outreach, and the role of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in their clinic work.

Participating law school clinics include Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Cornell University Law School, Fordham University School of Law, Howard University School of Law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, St. John’s University School of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, University of Miami School of Law, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

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