Clinic: Community Development - Skills

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CLINIC – 6 credits (application required) Spring 2012 Taught by: Heather K. Way, Frances Leos Martinez, Eliza Platts-Mills The Community Development Clinic provides students with a unique opportunity to develop business law and problem solving 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 may also represent low-income homeowners with title issues and small businesses. Students will learn how to represent their clients on a broad variety of business law matters. 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 will also offer a special tract involving policy development: At least four of the students in the Clinic will focus on assisting community groups develop local and statewide policy solutions to urban community development issues. 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 on Mondays from 2-4 pm (2 classes will run from 2-5 pm). Several of our classes will meet offsite from the Law School, including two community tours. The Clinic will also meet at the Law School on Thursdays from 9:30-10:20 am for case discussions. There will be a mandatory orientation class on Friday, January 20th, from 12-4:30 pm. 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 have access to a car to travel to meetings with their local clients. There are no prerequisites for this clinic, although a background in business law (such as corporate, real estate, or tax law) or policy work 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, as the clinic fills up quickly. 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. To apply for the clinic, please submit the clinic application and a resume to For additional information, please contact the Clinic Director, Heather K. Way (, 512-232-1210