Caring for the Souls of Our Students: The Evolution of a Community Economic Development Clinic During Turbulent Times

28 Clinical Law Review 243 (2021)

NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3982578

38 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2021

See all articles by Gowri Krishna

Gowri Krishna

New York Law School

Kelly Pfeifer

University of Michigan Law School

Dana Thompson

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: December 10, 2021

Abstract

Community Economic Development (CED) clinicians regularly address issues surrounding economic, racial, and social justice, as those are the core principles motivating their work to promote vibrant, diverse, and sustainable communities. When COVID-19 arrived, and heightened attention to police brutality and racial injustice ensued, CED clinicians focused not only on how to begin to address these issues in their clinics, but on how to discuss these issues more deeply and effectively with their students. This essay highlights the ways in which the pandemic school year influenced significant rethinking of one CED clinic’s operations: first, the pandemic sharpened the clinic’s mission to provide transactional legal services to nonprofit and community-based organizations, social enterprises, and neighborhood-based small businesses in Detroit and in other disinvested urban areas in the region; and second, it prompted the clinic to attempt to foster a culture of care within the virtual classroom. As an epicenter of pandemic, racial, and political turmoil over eighteen months (and counting), Detroit offered a unique setting to engage students in thinking critically about the role of lawyers in assisting communities in their efforts toward economic, racial, and social justice during the pandemic year and beyond.

Keywords: community economic development, transactional law, bell hooks, covid, clinical teaching, clinical law teaching, detroit, pedagogy

Suggested Citation

Krishna, Gowri and Pfeifer, Kelly and Thompson, Dana, Caring for the Souls of Our Students: The Evolution of a Community Economic Development Clinic During Turbulent Times (December 10, 2021). 28 Clinical Law Review 243 (2021), NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3982578, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3982578

Gowri Krishna (Contact Author)

New York Law School ( email )

185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
United States

Kelly Pfeifer

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
7346152947 (Phone)

Dana Thompson

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

701 South State Street
3234 South Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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