The CEC is one of the law school’s transactional legal clinics and prepares students for corporate and transactional practice in all sectors, including the private and nonprofit sectors. The CEC’s mission is to promote economic, racial, and social justice and community and economic development in Detroit and other disinvested urban areas of the region. The clinic supports vibrant, diverse, and sustainable communities by providing transactional legal assistance to neighborhood-based small businesses, nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, and social enterprises. Student attorneys interact with clients, normally represent multiple clients, and assume primary responsibility for all matters affecting their clients under close faculty supervision.
The CEC works with both start-up and established clients primarily in these areas:
* Entity formation, structuring, and governance
* Drafting, negotiating, and reviewing contracts and other agreements
* Tax
* Intellectual property
* Regulatory compliance
* Real estate and land use
* Employment
* Risk management
Student attorneys gain practical lawyering experience in the CEC. Student attorneys interview and counsel clients; develop and plan client strategy; draft legal documents, memos, and correspondence; manage relationships with clients, counterparties, co-counsel, and colleagues; identify legal issues, research them, and evaluate different alternatives; negotiate agreements; and implement client decisions. Student attorneys assess their own work and receive detailed feedback from CEC faculty in weekly meetings. The weekly seminar is a time for discussion of lawyering and client issues, including issues facing under-resourced communities in the Detroit metropolitan area and nationally, and the role race and racism have played in creating and continuing the adverse conditions in these communities and the processes of community and economic development in these urban areas.
The CEC prepares students for careers in corporate, government, or public interest practice. There are no formal prerequisites. Knowledge of business law, including the substantive law of enterprise organizations, tax, nonprofit, land use, intellectual property and employment is not necessary, but may be helpful.
Students receive seven credits for the Clinic: three for the seminar and four for the client work. Each component is graded separately. The CEC meets the New York Pro Bono requirement.
The Clinic seminar fulfills the Law School’s professional responsibility requirement for graduation, but does not fulfill the New York State Bar ethics requirement.