Missy Risser ’13 is an Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of CUNY’s Community and Economic Development Clinic (CEDC), which provides legal and policy support to community-led organizations that redress structural inequities faced by BIPOC and other marginalized communities.
At the CEDC, Professor Risser teaches and supervises students in the CEDC’s Economic Democracy Practice Area, which provides transactional legal assistance to groups organizing to build community power and democratize the economy, such as cooperatives, community land trusts, nonprofits, and unincorporated associations. This work includes entity-type counseling and formation, governance, tax exemption, and various organizational operational issues, such as contracts and employment law.
Previously, she was a Supervising Attorney and Staff Attorney in the Capacity-Building and Equitable Neighborhoods practices at the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center (now TakeRoot Justice), where she provided similar transactional legal assistance and worked in partnership with community groups organizing for community control and against displacement. She helped found the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, a coalition of groups building cooperative infrastructure, which has received the largest municipal investment in worker cooperatives of any city nationwide to date.
Professor Risser is a co-founder of 1 Worker 1 Vote, a nonprofit that supports the development of worker cooperatives, particularly unionized worker cooperatives. Missy’s research interests focus on movement lawyering, alternative institutions like cooperatives and community land trusts as tools to address the various crises low-income communities face under racial capitalism, and the intersection of CEDC and racial and criminal justice work through abolition democracy. Professor Risser obtained her J.D. from CUNY School of Law; her M.Ed. in Urban Education from Temple University; and her B.A. from Vassar College.