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Investor Information: Finding Legal Help when in Dispute

Whenever you have a dispute with your broker or brokerage firm, consult a licensed attorney specializing in securities. You need professional legal guidance:

  • To decide on the conflict resolution method you'll be using.
  • Your attorney will be able to help you decide whether to file a suit, initiate an arbitration claim, try for mediation, or go for direct negotiation with the other party.
  • To help you prepare your claims, pleadings, supporting documentation, and whatever legal form you need to sign, file and submit.
  • To peruse counterclaims, pleadings and documents submitted by the other party.
  • To help you discuss settlement terms or decide on the amount of damages to seek from the other party.
  • To prevent you from committing grievous errors throughout the process of litigation, arbitration, mediation, or negotiation.
  • To help you file motions, appeals and other types of legal action whenever one is called for.

Find a Securities Lawyer

If you already have lawyer on retainer, consult with him to discuss your options. If your lawyer does not specialize in securities, ask him for the name of a good securities attorney.

If you don't know any good lawyer or if your lawyer can't refer anybody offhand, visit the website of Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association ( to find a prospective securities lawyer.

The great thing about PIABA is that its members are securities specialists. Lawyer members of this association are experts in securities laws as well as arbitration proceedings.

Find Help in an Arbitration and Mediation Clinic

In some cases, hiring a securities lawyer may be too expensive or impractical given the small amount of monetary damages you are seeking. In that case, you may have to find another way of finding legal help.

Investors from Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and New York: Investors who are residents of these 4 states are in luck. Law schools in these states provide arbitration and mediation help to investors in their state.

Legal guidance, in this case, would come from law students. However, such students have the authority to represent investors in their arbitration and mediation claims. They are also supervised by their teachers.

If you are interested, visit an arbitration or mediation clinic near you. Arbitration and mediation clinics have their own terms and conditions. For instance, if your claim is too large or your income too high, an arbitration and mediation clinic may not be able to help you.

Visit the following schools to inquire about their arbitration and mediation services:

  • Pennsylvania: Duquesne University School of Law
  • California: University of San Francisco School of Law
  • Illinois: Northwestern University School of Law
  • New York:
    • St. John's University School of Law
    • Albany Law School
    • State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law
    • Hofstra School of Law
    • Pace Univ. School of Law
    • Fordham University School of Law
    • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
    • Syracuse University College of Law
    • Cornell University Law School
    • New York Law School
    • Brooklyn Law School

Investors from other states: Investors from outside Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and New York should look for arbitration and mediation clinics in their state. Inquire with a law school near you to see if it provides a similar service.

You may also contact the arbitration and mediation clinics in the law schools mentioned above. Some of these schools still provide legal guidance to investors from out of state.

In this case, help may be provided through correspondence. Legal representation is probably out of the question as law students in these clinics have license to operate only within their state borders.

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