Public Interest Projects

Paul Radvany in The New York Law Journal, May 16, 2008

By Thomas Adcock

A team of four students in the Securities and Arbitration Clinic at Fordham University School of Law won an unusual ruling this month before an arbitration panel under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

On May 2, the panel ordered a rare award of $44,790 in punitive damages to Anne Woodhouse of Leeds, England.

She and her cancer-stricken husband, who died during the arbitration proceedings, were swindled out of a $25,000 investment by Damascus Lee, a New York broker for the Atlanta-based J.P. Turner who pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Supreme Court in 2006 to three counts of grand larceny and one count of money laundering.

In addition to punitive damages, the panel awarded Ms. Woodhouse compensatory damages of $22,395, plus interest. Mr. Lee, who is incarcerated, has already made $3,000 in restitution in the criminal case.

The Fordham Law students who represented Ms. Woodhouse - Christine Walsh, Eric Dickinson, Elizabeth Metcalf and Jesse Ma - were supervised by Professors Romaine Gardner, Marcella Silverman and Paul Radvany.

"This has been a long ordeal for Ms. Woodhouse, and we are very pleased that the panel took the extra step of awarding her punitive damages," said Mr. Radvany.

"It is a great achievement for the students," he added, "and it illustrates the strong representation law school clinics can provide victims like Ms. Woodhouse, who otherwise could not afford a lawyer."

The Fordham Law clinic made a previous settlement with J.P. Turner for an undisclosed sum.
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Elsewhere at Fordham Law, a new clinic will soon be added to the curriculum, thanks to a pair of University of California at Berkeley professors, and the school has become the first university-based advocate for mom-and-pop businesses in New York City:

• A $1 million gift to establish the Intellectual Property and Information Law Litigation Clinic was given on April 30 by Professor Pamela Samuelson of the Boalt Hall School of Law at UC-Berkeley, and her husband Robert J. Glushko, a technology entrepreneur and director of the university's Center for Document Engineering.

The new clinic will enable students to engage "at the forefront of public interest litigation" in new information technologies, according to Professor Joel R. Reidenberg, director of the school's Center on Law & Information Policy.

• The Fordham Institute for Family & Private Enterprise was created last month, a partnership between Holland & Knight and the university's graduate business school.

Under the program, Holland & Knight lawyers will participate in seminars and events to help small, family-owned enterprises with legal matters such as tax and estate planning, ownerships transfers and corporate governance.

"The program is designed to meet the needs of the mid-market segment of the New York business community, an area that comprises a substantial portion of our firm's client base," said John J. Reilly, executive partner of the firm's New York office.
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A fellowship grant of $250,000 from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has helped to create the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, alma mater of New York partner James L. Stengel, managing director of the firm's global litigation practice.

The new clinic is designed to handle non-DNA cases of wrongful conviction, primarily with clients in Michigan. The Orrick grant establishes a five-year fellowship track at the law school.

Named the inaugural Orrick fellow is Michigan Law Professor David Moran, an attorney with the State Appellate Defender's Office in Detroit.
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Public Interest Projects reports on volunteer projects at the law firms, and the lawyers and public interest agencies involved. Please submit items by e-mail to tadcock@amlaw.com.