Georgia State Law’s program allows full- and part-time students to learn and gain practical experience while taking care of work and family commitments. The Investor Advocacy Clinic, offered in the evening, enables students with daytime responsibilities to represent people with disputes with their broker.
“Georgia State Law’s student population is rich in experience and background. By holding the Investor Advocacy Clinic at night, we and our clients reap the benefit of our student body’s diverse skill sets and expertise,” said Nicole G. Iannarone, assistant clinical professor and clinic director.
Alisa Radut (J.D. ’19) is a part-time law clerk and full-time student, who takes day and evening classes. After working for nearly nine years as an accounts manager, she realized she wanted more from work and life and decided to pursue law school.
“I wanted something I could specialize in and be really good at. Law school always seemed somewhat unattainable, and I put it in the back of my mind as sort of a dream,” Radut said. “I then realized that life is too short to not at least try to reach those dreams and decided to go for it, see what happens, and then try to fit my life around school rather than try to fit school around my life.”
The Investor Advocacy Clinic offers Radut the flexibility to do that and get practical experience.
“I like that we get to be ‘attorneys.’ We work in teams, and we get a good snapshot of what the practice of law will really be like,” she said. “I’m also interested in the subject matter. I had little knowledge about investments before working in the clinic, and I wanted to learn more.”
Attending law school has been on Abigail Warren’s (J.D. ’19) “bucket list” since high school, but life got in the way. Now, as a mother of four, Olivia (13), Luke (11) and 3-year-old twins, Jack and Jacob, she is a part-time, second-year law student.
“I prefer to take classes and do work during the day so I can be home with my kids at night. However, the clinic sounded like a good place to get practical experience, so I was willing to sacrifice that time at home,” Warren said.
Warren spent one night a week at the clinic and was able to do the majority of her work during the day. While attending law school with four kids at home can be stressful, she says it’s worth it.
“Attending law school when you have other priorities can be difficult at times, especially starting out. But you adjust and figure out what you can do, what you are willing to do, and what works for you. It’s hard work, but rewarding,” she said. “Georgia State Law is quite accommodating by offering evening courses and especially the clinic. Plus, it’s a great school with a good reputation.”
Lynn McKeel (J.D. ’18) is a full-time evening student and works as a full-time paralegal for Fried & Bonder.
“I appreciate the opportunity to work with clients in a law school environment. If the clinic was not offered at night I would not be able to participate,” McKeel said. “Also, I am interested in the securities field, which can be difficult to break into without formal experience. I not only received credit hours but also gained great experience.”
McKeel’s experience as a paralegal inspired her to attend law school.
“I loved working in a law office and wanted more substantive responsibilities than typical paralegal duties,” she said. “Also, I’m an independent person and a bar license allows for professional flexibility, such as owning your own firm and generating referrals.”
How does she manage to keep up with a full-time job and her course load? Time management and balancing work with play.
“The most important thing I do is plan a real vacation after exams each year to decompress and completely unplug,” McKeel said. “Financially it can be difficult, but it’s worth the mental break.”
Iannarone admires her students’ desire to get practical training through the clinic and willingness to make the time despite their many other responsibilities.
“Students gain valuable experience through the clinic, and that requires hard work and dedication. Our students are committed to our clients, as well as their other priorities. We work hard to offer them an experience through the IAC that accommodates their schedules, while giving them practical experience that will help further their careers,” Iannarone said.