Pitt Law School to Open Securities Arbitration Clinic

Issue Date: 
June 6, 2011

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law, with the support of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission, has created the Securities Arbitration Clinic, slated to open during Fall Term 2011.

One of only 17 such clinics in the United States specializing in securities arbitration, the Securities Arbitration Clinic will give Pitt law students the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience in investigating claims and representing clients at every step of the arbitration process. Students also will be taught the skills necessary to represent investors involved in disputes with their broker-dealers.

The clinic will offer free legal representation to small investors who cannot afford representation or to those whose claims are too small to obtain private counsel. It also will provide legal representation to individuals who may be underrepresented in a complex administrative and judicial system. Preference is given to senior citizens and to Pennsylvania residents.

Alice L. Stewart, adjunct Pitt professor of law, and two supervising attorneys—Sandy Garfinkel, a partner at Eckert Seamans Cherin and Mellot, and Scott Lane, deputy chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission—will oversee the clinic, which is made possible with the support of the commission and Tom Michlovic and Steve Irwin, commissioners within the organization.

“I look forward to working with the students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law as they develop an understanding and appreciation of the securities arbitration process and as we assist residents of Pennsylvania and elsewhere in perfecting their rights and claims in the arbitration process,” said Stewart.

Stewart has taught clinical legal education, specializing in income tax and securities litigation since 1998. She has worked with the Internal Revenue Service and the Pennsylvania Securities Commission, obtaining more than $1 million in grant funds to support programs to assist low-income taxpayers and small investors while preparing law students to face the many challenges in the practice of tax and securities law. Over the last 10 years, Stewart has worked closely with law schools across the country, assisting in the development of securities arbitration clinics at Northwestern University, Suffolk University, and Howard University schools of law, among others.

A member of the Greater Pittsburgh Compliance Roundtable, Stewart works to bring national leaders in the financial industry to Pittsburgh for their annual financial symposium. She continues to work in private practice, specializing in representing individuals in the U.S. Tax Court. Stewart earned BA and BS degrees from Robert Morris University in 1987 and a JD from Duquesne University School of Law in 1995.

The Pitt School of Law currently runs Elder Law, Environmental Law, Family Law, Health Law, Immigration Law, and Taxpayer clinics.

More information about the clinics is available at www.law.pitt.edu. For information on Pitt’s Securities Arbitration Clinic, contact Stewart at 412-648-1300 or als243@pitt.edu.