Community Economic Development Clinic

Law students help build businesses and spur economic development in New York’s Capital Region through the Community Economic Development Clinic—part of The Justice Center at Albany Law School.

The clinic was founded in 2016. 

Additionally, it is a legal resource for individuals and grassroots groups of long-time residents in low-income neighborhoods and other historically marginalized groups, including new immigrants. These groups often don’t have access to pro bono legal services, but still need representation in forming not-for-profits, small businesses, or assistance advocating for economic development in particular neighborhoods.

Students, under the supervision of a professor or practicing attorney, 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 underserved populations such as the formerly incarcerated, immigrants, small business owners, and more.

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
  • Contracts
  • Leasing
  • Loan/related financial closings

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)