Community economic development (CED) has emerged over the past quarter century as a important strategy for redressing urban poverty. The main programmatic goal of CED—advanced primarily by community-based nonprofit organizations—has been to increase investment in low-income neighborhoods in order to produce economic transformation and community empowerment. Toward this end, CED has evolved as a set of multi-disciplinary techniques, integrating aspects of corporate finance, social policy, infrastructure development, and community organizing. This integrated approach has been used to create jobs, stimulate the development of affordable housing, and expand the availability of critical community-level services.
What role do lawyers play to support CED efforts? The CED Clinic will address this question from multiple perspectives, combining live-client representation, in-class exercises, and classroom study. One dimension of the course will involve learning the substantive legal skill set of CED lawyers. Working in connection with local community development corporations and legal services organizations, students will provide assistance on a variety of neighborhood revitalization projects. We will also carefully analyze the different points of legal intervention in the multi-faceted CED process, using structured in-class exercises to extract more general skills and principles that can be applied in a variety of transactional contexts. In addition, classroom time will be focused on exploring a range of historical, theoretical, and empirical literature on CED, which will be used to frame a critical discussion about the efficacy of CED as an antipoverty tool. Los Angeles, which has been the site of innovative multi-group economic justice campaigns, will be a focal point of our analysis.
This is a graded, 5 unit course. Business Associations is recommended but not required. Enrollment is limited to 8 students and admission is by consent of the instructor. The class meets twice a week and, in addition, requires a substantial out-of-class commitment.