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Program in Community Development and Transactional Law

CEDLC student attorneys work with community based organizations in Maryland and the District of Columbia to promote economic development. Using the tools of corporate, commercial, and transactional law, they create and retain assets for greatly underserved communities in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Our clients are non-profits, small business owners, tenants' associations, and other groups who hold the line in under-served communities, and whose concerns must be given priority if community residents are not to be displaced by locally sourced juice bars and designer lofts. Our students work with clients to determine the appropriate business entity for their mission and needs, to execute and file corporate documents and applications for state and federal tax exemptions, to apply for grants, to negotiate contracts and memoranda of understanding, and to advocate before agencies and legislatures.

Our clinic’s name is philosophically specific: Community AND Economic Development Law Clinic. We see community development – the capacity of neighborhood-based organizations to keep the benefits of development in communities – as fundamental to economic development. We see law as a mechanism that can build or destroy communities and enable or stifle economic development. We teach students to understand the context of their legal work within a community and its economy, with the goal of creating engaged, highly competent, client-centered lawyers.