Nicole Iannarone, former partner at Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore LLP, has joined Georgia State University College of Law as an assistant clinical professor, teaching professional responsibility and complex litigation this spring and helping build the Investor Advocacy Clinic.
The clinic, funded by a FINRA Investor Education Foundation grant, will represent individuals who experienced broker misconduct and suffered resultant losses up to $100,000. It is common for smaller claims to remain unaddressed because of litigation costs — something Iannarone calls a "significant unmet need."
The clinic will give "real people legal services for some of their most important investments — retirement, college funds," she says.
"In addition to filling this unmet need, the Investor Advocacy Clinic will give students a great opportunity to see all aspects of a case and learn what it means to be a lawyer," Iannarone said.
In addition to her nearly 10 years of complex commercial litigation experience, Iannarone has taught professional responsibility at the college as an adjunct professor since 2011.
Originally, she considered teaching as a way to stay actively engaged with developments in the law, but it quickly became a passion.
Her experiences as a Georgia State Law adjunct led her to take a sabbatical year to teach legal writing at Vanderbilt Law School. In August, she left full-time law practice to serve as a visiting assistant professor, teaching lawyering and Civil Procedure, at Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law.
Becoming a clinical professor is an ideal balance of both worlds, Iannarone said.
"I have had experience through all levels of a firm, and getting to use those skills to work with students and teach them how to litigate and how to represent clients is a really exciting opportunity," she said.
Students are at the heart of Iannarone's desire to teach. The diversity of experiences in the Georgia State Law student body brings rich discussion to her classroom.
"Being an adjunct let me see how wonderful the students were before I made the decision to become a full-time professor," she said. "It was an opportunity to 'sample' the student body and the culture here.
"Students want to learn how to be lawyers in addition to learning the law itself," she said. "A clinic is a great way to balance both of those goals."