On the law faculty since 1988, Professor Bezdek combines her interest in the legal foundations of social change with courses designed to help students link theory and practice. Prior to joining the Maryland faculty, she worked as a public interest attorney in Washington, D.C., where she represented neighborhoods, tenant associations and housing cooperatives and litigated cases related to public health & safety and corporate responsibility.
Professor Bezdek frequently teaches Property and Real Estate Transactions. She regularly teaches the clinical seminar, Legal Theory and Practice: Community Development. Students in this experiential seminar assist clients in low-income communities through legal strategies that support the community’s self-determination of revitalization objectives. Her LTP students have had lasting impact as counsel to community development corporations, local schools and youth programs, public housing tenants, and transitional housing providers; and developed the legal framework for Baltimore’s Alley Gating and Greening Ordinance which allows neighbors to re-create grim alleys into communal green spaces.
Professor Bezdek’s scholarship and teaching explore ways to expand legal opportunities and practical capabilities of disenfranchised communities to participate politically and economically in the public-private redevelopments that impact them. Her most recent publications examine public interests and community claims in urban redevelopment projects. In 2010, she co-edited HOUSING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (4th ed. 2010) (with Kushner et al), and contributed the chapter Community Development and Revitalization to that textbook; and also published Community Recovery Lawyering: Hard Lessons from Post-Katrina Mississippi, DePaul Journal of Social Justice (Fall 2010) (with Mississippi Center for Justice colleagues). Her proposal, Putting Community Equity in Community Development: Resident Equity Participation in Urban Redevelopment, was published in AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS, Malloy & Davidson, 2009.
Professor Bezdek was named a U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Law in 2010-2011, which enabled her to teach land use, law and community rights in economic development, at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, and lecture in many cities throughout the People’s Republic of China. Bezdek was the founding faculty advisor for the Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class (formerly known as Margins). She was a founder and board chair of the Faith Fund Inc., a community development loan fund formed by an interfaith consortium in Central Maryland to address the credit needs of local housing and facilities developers. She received the University of Maryland’s Public Servant of the Year Award in 2005. She serves on the advisory committee for Community Greens, an Ashoka Foundation initiative to extend the success of our pilot alley-greening effort in Baltimore.