The LEAD Curriculum and Projects
Community Development and Democracy Building
In the Community Development and Democracy Building component, the School of Law will develop new courses and clinics to provide legal help to communities and community organizations and to explore issues related to community recovery, community development and democracy. Students will experience first-hand the potential transformative power of the law and how one might use the law to create systemic change that improves lives and strengthens communities. This component includes:
- Two new courses: Law, Policy and Practices of Community Recovery Seminar and Law, Policy and Practice of
Community Recovery: Legal Theory and Practice. The courses examine the legal strategies communities can use to recover from physical destruction and economic disinvestment, among many other topics.
- A New Clinic in Biloxi Mississippi, jointly operated with the Mississippi Center for Justice. This work will engage students in post-Katrina recovery efforts, including community development projects (e.g., helping public housing tenants organize and deal with Post-Katrina housing issues), and litigation on behalf of low- and moderate-income homeowners who have fraud and breach of contract claims against contractors.
- A New International and Comparative Law Clinic that consists of legal work in Mexico, China, and Namibia. Through the course students will work in interdisciplinary settings to provide legal services to the poor and learn multi-cultural lessons about poverty, democracy, and justice.
- In Mexico, students will work under the supervision of Rachel Micah Jones, Executive Director of the Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc., a non-profit, transnational workers’ rights law center dedicated to improving the working conditions of migrant workers in the United States.
- In China, under the supervision of Professor Shruti Rana students will work alongside law students at Beijing’s Law School of the Central University of Finance and Economics in a microcredit clinic, in which they will research the use of microcredit as a tool for poverty alleviation and a means to encourage entrepreneurship among the Chinese.
- Finally, in Namibia, under the supervision of Professor Barbara Olshansky, students will work on projects that address the intersection of issues involving economics and human rights, such as HIV/AIDS Forced Sterilization, access to water, and community organizing in a post-apartheid state. The University of Namibia and the Legal Assistance Centre in Namibia will serve as hosts. This project also is partnered with DLA Piper’s International Pro Bono Initiative, New Perimeter.
- A Client Council, through which we can involve clients in Baltimore, Mississippi, and a Latin American or African country in identifying and evaluating ways in which lawyers can help communities achieve their goals.