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Community Development Law Clinic Highlights

Monday, September 15, 2008  
Posted by: The Advocate
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The Community Development Law Clinic (CDLC) provides pro bono representation to low-income individuals and community-based organizations serving the residents of the District of Columbia. Our work encompasses two major areas of service: representation of tenant groups in the purchase of their buildings under the D.C. Tenants’ Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA); and representation of low-income entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations in business formation, licensing, contracts, tax exemption, and intellectual property issues.

Twelve students were enrolled in the CDLC during the Spring 2008 semester. Working in teams under the supervision of Professors Samuel Jefferson and Louise Howells, the students represented five tenant organizations in various stages of the TOPA process. Each student also worked on one or more business/non-profit case. Richard Hayes assisted with the formation of a new business that will provide educational services to undergraduate students. Tess Davis filed responses with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with respect to two clients’ trademark applications. Denise Greaves and Alea Harmon drafted several contracts on behalf of an organization that provides testing, counseling and therapy services to under-served youth. Chris Viviani assisted with the formation of a music production company that is planning to market music with positive messages to the youth market. Pinky Bojeva helped to set up a company that will provide educational technology consulting services to the private sector. Lesley Ellefson and Marc Bianchini also assisted with the formation of a technology-focused small business. Elizabeth Crow and Ibidun Roberts completed the formation of a therapeutic counseling practice, and drafted contracts for use with the group’s clients. Denise Greaves and Beth Stevens worked on an educational license for a non-profit organization that will provide hospitality training to under-served communities. Karen Hainer worked with two non-profit organizations to complete their tax-exempt status and charitable solicitation licenses.

The clients served by the CDLC will offer a rich array of goods and services to under-served District communities, and none of them would have been able to afford legal representation without the clinic’s pro bono program.

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