Community Economic Development Clinic

Law students spur economic development in New York’s Capital Region and sharpen their transactional legal skills through the Community Economic Development Clinic - part of The Justice Center at Albany Law School.

Founded in 2016, the clinic serves as a legal resource for individuals, startups, small businesses, nonprofits, and grassroots groups to increase access to transactional legal services.

These groups often don’t have access to affordable or pro bono legal services, and require assistance in forming nonprofit and for-profit entities, hiring contractors and employees, purchasing real estate, applying for tax exemption, and advocating in their communities, among other things.

Students, under the supervision of a professor or staff attorney (all practicing attorneys) learn key corporate law and deal closing skills, including client counseling and interviewing, negotiation, drafting, advocacy, and public speaking. Students learn the importance of pro bono and professional responsibility by servicing underrepresented and under-resourced populations.

The Community Economic Development Clinic was made possible by a generous donation by Edward P. Swyer and the Swyer Family Foundation.

What We Do

  • Hold 4-6 legal advice clinics each academic year
  • Serve over 75 clients annually
  • Increase the impact of our work through the support of dozens of law student volunteers from the Business Law Society and around 12 volunteer attorneys participating annually

We Offer Assistance and Legal Services For

  • Business entity formation
  • Worker cooperatives
  • Affordable housing preservation and development
  • Community benefits agreements
  • Neighborhood-based economic development strategies
  • Legal research and advocacy on economic development in low-income neighborhoods
  • Access to justice issues more broadly
  • Representation on transactional matters
  • Entity formation
  • Governance ɖ Contracts ɖ Leasing
  • Loan/related financial closings
  • Trademark Applications
  • Regulation Crowdfunding

Client Success

We are proud to have helped these local businesses help make our community a better place!

Community Partner Technical Assistance Providers

    Albany Small Business Development Center (business model development)

    Capital Region Chamber (business planning Entrepreneur Boot Camp)

    Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region (operates 8-week business planning course)

    Capital Bookkeeping Cooperative

    Cooperative Fund of New England (provides loans to housing developers, farm businesses, small businesses & nonprofits operated on a cooperative basis)

    Institute of Nonprofit Leadership and Community Development

    New York Council on Nonprofits, Inc.