Carmen Huertas, Missy Risser-Lovings, and Chris Adams’s chapter, Scaling Worker Cooperatives as an Economic Justice Tool for Communities in Crises, describes the roles attorneys are playing in efforts to establish […]
Professor Carmen Huertas-Noble is a Tenured Professor of Law and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Programs at CUNY Law. She is the founding director of the Community & Economic Development Clinic (CEDC). CUNY Law School’s Clinical Program ranks first in the nation and CUNY Law is consistently ranked as one of the top U.S. public service law schools. Professor Huertas-Noble earned her J.D. from Fordham University Law School, where she was a Stein Scholar in Public Interest Law and Ethics.
Prior to joining the CUNY faculty, Professor Huertas-Noble was an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School where she supervised students in its CED Clinic and worked with nonprofits creating immigrant-led worker-owned cooperatives providing child care and house cleaning services. She also served as a senior staff attorney in the Community Development Project (CDP) of the Urban Justice Center, where she counseled cooperatives in navigating their legal entity formation options and on creating democratic governance structures. As part of CDP, she worked with ROC-NY in creating COLORS, a worker-owned restaurant in Manhattan.
Since then, Professor Huertas-Noble and the CEDC have played a leading role in providing transactional legal and policy support to some of the most innovative and grassroots organizations creating and supporting worker-owned cooperatives, including co-founding and incorporating 1 Worker 1 Vote, a movement-building non-profit, the American Sustainable Business Council’s Ownership for All Campaign, The Coalition to Transform Interfaith, Green Worker Cooperatives and the New York City Worker-Owned Cooperative Network (NYC NoWC). In addition, CEDC was instrumental in securing financial investment from the New York City Council in 2015 for the Worker Cooperative Budget Initiative that developed a city-wide ecosystem to grow and support the worker cooperative movement and has grown substantially since 2015. NYC’s investment in the Initiative represents the largest, formal US city investment in worker cooperatives in North America.
In its efforts to continue to strengthen the cooperative ecosystem, CEDC has also partnered with Mondragon’s North American Delegate to develop the legal framework for the union-coop hybrid model and to help launch a community college certificate program on the solidarity economy and cooperative enterprise. CEDC alums are also leaders within the worker cooperative legal field and are working or have worked for leading organizations such as the ICA, The Urban Justice Center, Take Root, Brooklyn Legal Services, the New York State Senate, the New York Working Families Project, and the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation.
The CEDC continues to build and raise awareness of the worker cooperative movement by co-organizing and hosting worker cooperative conferences with NYC NoWC, presenting at various local and national conferences, and serving as a policy resource for elected officials. In 2020, Carmen was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, the community’s highest honor, awarded to visionary leaders who inspire and impact alternative ownership models, including worker-owned cooperatives and community land trusts.
Professor Huertas-Noble’s nationally and internationally recognized research and scholarship also focuses on promoting worker-owned cooperatives. Her scholarship emphasizes the role of lawyer in creating meaningful, client participatory decision-making processes as part of the lawyer’s counseling process and in support of client-centered lawyering on behalf of cooperatives.