Colorado Law Adds Sustainable Community Development Clinic

August 29, 2016

The University of Colorado Law School added a new legal clinic to its roster this fall with the creation of the Sustainable Community Development (SCD) Clinic, the first new clinic in a decade. Students in the new clinic will work jointly with Boulder community organizations on economic development projects aimed at sustainable community development, social justice, and the reduction of poverty.

“The overarching frame of SCD is to consider the role of sustainable development as reflecting commitments to social justice and to reducing poverty,” said Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Programs Deborah Cantrell, who is teaching the new clinic this semester. “The clinic hopes to be a catalyst and conduit for our community’s often under-heard voices for social change and social enterprise.”

Topics and projects include:

  • Establishing socially engaged business entities, such as worker cooperatives and public benefit corporations, in underserved or underrepresented communities
  • Working with local health departments on "healthy city" projects
  • Working with sustainable developers on projects that include affordable housing and community or non-profit space
  • Acting as a policy think tank on critical issues concerning local development and sustainability
  • Partnering with the local food movement in Boulder and surrounding counties to provide legal advice and education on issues surrounding local agriculture

The Sustainable Community Development Clinic joins a lineup of existing legal clinics at Colorado Law, all of which address critical community needs. In these courses, second- and third-year law students provide free legal services to clients on actual cases, which range from legal matters related to youth and families (Juvenile and Family Law Clinic) to preservation of tribal sovereignty and Native lands (American Indian Law Clinic) to providing pro bono transactional legal services for entrepreneurs and small businesses (Entrepreneurial Law Clinic).

PICTURED: Professor Cantrell with students in the SCD Clinic.