By Grace Renshaw
Securities regulation scholar Amanda Rose spent the year after she was awarded tenure on Vanderbilt’s law faculty earning a master’s in finance at the Owen Graduate School of Management. Her goal: “To raise the sophistication level of my teaching and research.”
But first, Rose—who graduated first in her class at both Berkeley Law and the University of San Francisco—took a mathematics refresher course. “High school was the last time I’d done any calculus,” admitted Rose, who majored in political science before studying law.
Before joining Vanderbilt’s law faculty, Rose had spent five years defending clients facing securities fraud class actions, SEC enforcement actions and state regulatory proceedings as a securities litigator with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in San Francisco. Her desire to teach securities law was cemented during 2006–07, when she taught securities regulation as a fellow at the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy. She accepted a tenure-track position at Vanderbilt in 2008. “I had spent my entire career practicing, studying and teaching about securities regulation and picked up a lot of basic financial knowledge,” she said, “but I’d never had any formal training in finance.”
Rose was impressed with the rigor of Owen’s finance program and is excited about the insights she gained while earning her master’s degree. “My study at Owen gave me a deeper appreciation of what the players in the securities market are trained to do—their mindset, the tools they use, and the limitations of those tools—and has thereby enriched my ability to critically evaluate the regulations that govern them. It has also given me a deeper appreciation of the market dynamics that underlie the disputes we study in my law school courses, making me a more effective teacher,” she said.
Rose’s coursework at Owen piqued her interest in the investment management industry and the regulations governing investment advisers and their interactions with investors and investment companies. “Most of my Owen classmates were planning to become financial advisers or investment managers,” she said. “It’s a huge industry governed by regulations that students receive almost no exposure to. Studying finance made me aware of an important area of law that’s been neglected in the law school setting.”
In the year since she earned her M.S.F. degree, Rose has developed and taught a new class, Advanced Securities Regulation, which focuses on the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. One challenge she faced was a dearth of teaching materials. She is now considering creating a single textbook that could be used to teach the class in both law and business schools. “Vanderbilt’s new strategic plan focuses on interdisciplinary initiatives, and this area of law is of real value to both law and finance students,” she said. “The financial services industry is highly regulated, and lawyers and financial professionals both need to understand these regulations and how they’re evolving.”