'Hard Work, Determination, and Dedication.'

arya omshehe

Arya Omshehe, RWU Law Class of 2023

Juris Doctor

Arya Omshehe, a third-year student at Roger Williams University School of Law, has been awarded first place in the 2022 James E. Beckley Securities Arbitration and Law Writing Competition

The honor was formally conferred on Oct. 26 during the annual meeting of the Public Investors Advocate Bar Association (PIABA), an international group whose members represent investors in disputes with the securities industry. PIABA sponsors the annual writing competition, in which law students from across the country submit law review-quality articles on legal issues related to protecting investors.

Omshehe’s paper, titled “Strolling Through Citrus Groves, Strutting into Country Clubs: A Securities Venture of Investment, Risk, Profit & Rift”, won a $1,000 prize and will be published in the PIABA Bar Journal, according to Jason Burge of Fishman Haygood LLP in New Orleans, the journal’s editor-in-chief.

“It is an honor to win this prestigious award,” Omshehe said. “Most fulfilling, however, is the privilege of furthering efforts to educate public investors about securities and commodities and abuses in the arbitration process, and to advocate legislative reform for fairer securities laws.”

When Omshehe initially conceived his article as a comment for Roger Williams Law Review, he approached Chief Justice Weisberger Visiting Professor of Law Andrew Spacone—whom he had served as a summer teaching and research assistant, and in whose Securities Regulation course he was currently enrolled—to serve as his advisor.

Spacone admits he was initially skeptical, because Omshehe had little prior experience with securities law.

“However, he quickly mastered enough of the subject to select an exciting topic, begin researching the paper, and eventually make it his own,” Spacone said. “In many ways, the paper is a groundbreaking piece of legal scholarship, especially for the Rhode Island businesses and legal community—an impressive effort by Arya, which tells me he is going to be a terrific lawyer.”

Omshehe, in turn, said Professor Spacone’s “background, experience, and guidance have been most helpful, and his kindness unparalleled. We met to discuss my ideas and interests; the rest is history—except the part where I had to learn everything just to focus on one particular thing! That part was hard.”

Omshehe explained that his personal background did not include much exposure to the inner workings of capitalism.

I think learning any legal topic on your own is tough, but it is especially so when the subject matter is needlessly complex—and of course, I am referring to securities regulations," he said. “My parents escaped from Iran and sought refuge in California after the Iranian Revolution. As a first-generation Iranian American, I did not grow up with any understanding of securities laws other than what I saw in movies like ‘Wall Street’ with Michael Douglas. Professor Spacone was not exactly thrilled to hear this, but I think he would tell you, as most who know me would, that I never fail to make up for lack of experience with hard work, determination—a ‘no matter what’ attitude—and dedication.”