Albany Law School Receives Major Gift to Fund Community and Business Development Clinic

6/7/2016 | Facebook|Twitter|Email

A major gift has enabled Albany Law School to create the Community and Business Development Clinic (CBDC) starting in the fall. The new Clinic will serve as a hub to provide the services necessary to support emerging micro-businesses in the Capital Region.

The CBDC — part of the law school's Clinic & Justice Center will provide the Capital Region's qualifying businesses with:

  • Pro bono legal services and outreach to local law firms and service providers
  • Help with identifying micro-loan funding sources
  • Assistance with creating a business plan through coordination with the University at Albany School of Business

The Community and Business Development Clinic was made possible by a significant donation by Edward P. Swyer and The Swyer Family Foundation. He is president of The Swyer Companies, Inc., which owns and manages the outdoor lifestyle shopping center, Stuyvesant Plaza, in Albany, N.Y.

"It is through the generosity and foresight of community leaders like Ed Swyer that keep Albany Law School prospering, at the same time strengthening the business community connections," said Daniel Nolan, Albany Law School's Board of Trustees chair. "The school and the region are fortunate to have a friend like Mr. Swyer."

"My connection to Albany Law School began when my father's construction company, The L.A. Swyer Co., Inc., built the Schaffer Law Library in 1986," said Edward P. Swyer. "Simultaneously with the job completion he was sadly diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and died two years later. I felt a responsibility to maintain the good relationship and friendships he established, and stepped in on behalf of the company."

Students, under the supervision of a professor or practicing attorney, will help the businesses choose and form the appropriate entity, protect intellectual assets, access grant funding, audit employment policies, write contracts, and more.

"Albany Law School faculty and students will provide Capital Region clients with legal and business expertise to help them achieve their business goals and create jobs in the community," said Alicia Ouellette, President & Dean of the law school.  "We are grateful for Mr. Swyer's generosity."

In 2008 the law school honored Mr. Swyer with the 2008 Trustees Gold Medal, the highest accolade awarded annually to an individual with a record of exemplary support and dedication to the advancement of the school. For more than 20 years he has supported Albany Law School's Lewis A. Swyer Academic Success Program, which provides workshops for first-year law students requiring additional academic support. He has also contributed generously to the clinics serving domestic violence victims, which provide legal representation to victims of family violence who would not otherwise receive services.

"This Clinic will serve as a great addition to the Clinic & Justice Center and will present new opportunities for our students," said Sarah Rogerson, director of the Clinic & Justice Center. "The Clinic is typically the first time students learn to manage real cases and clients. This new Clinic will allow the students to get close to a different type of case and client, and makes the breadth of our offerings wider."

Other Clinics in the Law Clinic & Justice Center that give students opportunities to learn the practice of law while serving the community include the Family Violence Litigation Clinic, the Health Law Clinic, the Immigration Law Clinic, the Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic and the Field Placement Program.