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Attorneys with a focus on investor rights are few in the rural Southern Tier of upstate New York and investment scam artists are common. For that reason, Cornell Law School has created a securities law clinic. The clinic, begun in January, has attracted interest from both students and aggrieved investors. “Eight [students] is the enrollment limit, according to the American Bar Association but we had 27 applications. There is a large interest,” said William Jacobson, an associate professor and securities litigation attorney who is supervising the clinic. The clinic has received about 20 potential cases ranging from annuities and life insurance policies “inappropriately sold” to unsophisticated purchasers to outright fraud, Jacobson said. “We are reviewing potential cases,” Jacobson said. “We haven’t filed any yet but we have a lot of inquiries.” The clinic filed a comment letter this week with the Securities and Exchange Commissions challenging a proposal by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regarding arbitration. Also this week, students are providing their first in-service training to staff of the Cornell Cooperative Extension who will present investor education programs throughout New York state. Students are developing public education materials on securities scams for distribution at Cooperative Extension offices in every New York county. “We’ve only been doing this seven weeks but we’ve been busy,” Jacobson said.

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