Investor Rights Clinic Students Practice Mock Arguments Before Experienced Attorneys

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2L Jean Strickland and 3L Joshua Bautz had the spotlight when they squared off recently for an audience of securities attorneys and arbitrators at the Palm Beach County Bar Association Securities Law Committee’s annual seminar.

Jean Strickland & Joshua Bautz

Practical skills training and hands-on learning is an integral component for students in Miami Law’s Investor Rights Clinic in which both Stickland and Bautz participated.

Strickland represented the claimant (as the plaintiff is known in securities arbitration) seeking damages for losses in energy investments, while Bautz defended the claims on behalf of the respondent (or the defendant).

“It was an amazing experience to practice advocating, given a very realistic and contemporary set of facts, in front of a live audience and in front of experienced FINRA [Financial Industry Regulatory Authority] arbitrators,” said Strickland, who served as an intern at the Clinic in the fall of 2016 and remains with the Clinic as a fellow this spring.

“The opportunity to get immediate arbitrator feedback was unique and invaluable.  I remain very grateful for my time working at the clinic.”

Despite some technical difficulties with the slides the students intended to use as exhibits, both Strickland and Bautz made convincing oral arguments of 25 minutes each in front of a room full of experienced attorneys and six FINRA arbitrators.

Although the arbitrators sided with Strickland and awarded her client partial damages, Bautz persuaded the arbitrators to limit the damages in a difficult fact pattern for his client.

“Without this opportunity, it would be impossible to replicate the insightful feedback that we were able to receive from the panel of expert FINRA arbitrators and accomplished securities professionals,” said Bautz, an intern at the Investor Rights Clinic in the fall 2015 semester. “Listening to the subsequent discussion about the effectiveness of our arguments was an incredibly revealing experience.”

The seminar, titled “The Changing Landscape of Securities Regulation, Arbitration and Litigation,” took place at the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, Florida.

More on Miami Law Clinics.