Who we serve: The Community Development Clinic offers free, non-litigation legal services to Baltimore-area community development organizations. We help communities help themselves by supporting nonprofits, small businesses located in underserved neighborhoods, groups promoting affordable housing, community associations and other locally based organizations.
What we do: We advise on a range of business law, nonprofit and legislative matters. For example, we help clients structure and form nonprofit organizations, corporations, partnerships and LLCs; counsel boards and staff about their legal duties and best practices in running a nonprofit or small business; help organizations apply for tax exemption or 501(c)(3) status; draft and review contracts; and advise clients on what they can and can't do under the law, or under a contract, grant or other legal paperwork. The clinic also provides trainings for groups on specific areas of the law and, when it's called for, advocates for changes in the law itself.
How we serve: Upper-level law students work directly with clients, in pairs or individually, and take primary responsibility for all client matters under the guidance of full-time law school faculty. Students receive law school credit and attend weekly seminars and meetings that provide guidance and support on client issues and that analyze legal and policy contexts related to community development work. Students gain experience working with clients within a structured educational framework, while helping to strengthen underserved local communities from within.
Policies and procedures: The Community Development Clinic is a one-semester clinic, although students may be invited to continue certain work for credit for a second semester. Students are expected to devote approximately 20 hours per week to clinic matters.
The Community Development Clinic is suitable for part-time students. Faculty strongly recommend that students minimize the number of other credits that they take while enrolled in the clinic.