The Community Development Law clinic provides students with a unique opportunity to develop business law skills while addressing systemic causes of poverty.
Students will provide nonprofit organizations with business law services needed to promote sustainable economic development in low-income communities including job creation, affordable housing, and asset building strategies. Students will also represent small businesses.
Students will learn how to represent their clients on a broad variety of business law matters. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in local and statewide public policy development on issues related to community development. Typical legal matters include:
- incorporating nonprofit corporations
- applying to the IRS for tax exempt status
- drafting and negotiating contracts
- providing legal advice to nonprofit board of directors and staff
- drafting lending and real estate documents
- assisting businesses with choice of entity decisions
The clinic is conducted in partnership with Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources (Texas C-BAR), a project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. The clinic class will meet offsite from the Law School on Mondays from 2-3:45 pm. The clinic will also meet at the Law School on Tuesdays from 9:30-10:15am for case discussions. There will be a mandatory all-day orientation the day before classes start. The clinic is a significant time commitment. Students are expected to devote an average of 17-20 hours a week to the clinic (including class time). Students need to be able to travel to meet their local clients. There are no prerequisites for this clinic, although a background in business law (such as corporate, real estate, or tax law) will be useful.
The clinic classes emphasize the substantive law as well the larger social and theoretical context of community development work. Classes and out-of-class simulations also emphasize the development of practical lawyering skills such as interviewing and counseling clients.
Enrollment is by application only. Students are encouraged to apply for the clinic during early registration. Students may request to be placed on a waiting list, if space is unavailable during registration. Grading is on a pass/fail basis for this six-credit hour clinic.
For additional information, please contact: Heather K. Way (firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-232-1210) or Frances Leos Martinez (email@example.com).