Community & Economic Development

 

The Community & Economic Development (CED) Clinic partners with community-led organizations to address structural inequalities in New York City through transactional representation, strategic litigation, community legal education, and policy reform.

The CED Clinic is designed for students who are interested in learning how to effectively collaborate with - and advocate for - grassroots community groups fighting for economic justice and social change. Through the client representation and seminar components of the Clinic, student interns learn a range of vital lawyering skills - interviewing and counseling, negotiation, transactional drafting, cross-cultural lawyering, oral advocacy - in the broader context of social justice lawyering.

The work of the CED Clinic is organized around three main practice areas (described below): Economic Democracy, Worker Justice, and Anti-Displacement.

Community & Economic Development Clinic Highlights

  • Economic Democracy
  • Worker Justice
  • Anti-Displacement
 

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Community & Economic Development Clinic
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Read our special feature from CUNY Law's Spring 2010 Magazine.

 

Economic Democracy

The CED Clinic provides transactional legal support to worker-owned cooperatives and the organizations that support them. Clinic clients have included ROC-NY, Green Worker Cooperatives, and the New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives. Recently, the Clinic has been at the forefront of the creation of an innovative model of unionized worker-owned cooperatives based in the principles of the Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain. In this practice area, student interns work collaboratively with worker cooperatives to help them develop democratically-controlled, equitable businesses.

 

Worker Justice

The CED Clinic supports grassroots worker centers and workers' rights organizations by providing legal support to their members. The Clinic has partnered with Make the Road NY, Adhikaar, and Catholic Migration Services to bring litigation on behalf of low-wage workers in wage and hour and overtime disputes. The Clinic also represents workers in unemployment insurance hearings, and assists organizational partners with law and policy campaigns aimed at strengthening worker protections.

 

Anti-Displacement

The CED Clinic provides legal assistance to tenant organizations that are fighting to preserve affordable housing, particularly in gentrifying sections of the city. The Clinic has brought litigation in Housing Court on behalf of tenant associations in Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, and has partnered with grassroots tenant groups on organizing and policy campaigns aimed at strengthening protections for low-income tenants. Student interns in this practice area facilitate tenant meetings, lead community legal education workshops, and appear in Housing Court and/or administrative proceedings on behalf of tenants.

 

Requirements for Acceptance into the Clinic

Students who successfully complete the CED Lawyering Seminar or Not-for-Profit Lawyering Seminar and who have a demonstrated interest in community organizing will be given strong preference for enrollment in the CED Clinic.

 

Classroom Component

The seminar portion of the CED Clinic provides student interns with a grounding in the laws of worker-owned cooperatives, affordable housing preservation, and wage and hour law. Through classroom discussions, exercises, and case rounds, student interns engage with essential lawyering skills and legal ethics, and situate their client work in the political-economic context of rising inequality and precarity.

 

Clinic Graduates

CED Clinic graduates have gone on to work in many practice areas, including community economic development, tenants' rights, labor and employment law, consumer protection, and poverty law. CED graduates have worked at the Legal Aid Society, Legal Services NYC, the ACACIA Network, the Community Development Project, Catholic Migration Services, Green Worker Cooperatives, Mobilization for Justice, Make the Road NY, NYLAG, and the US Department of Labor.