General Legal Resource Materials

Entrepreneurship Law Editorial Team



Abstract: HUD's Office of University Partnerships reports on the involvement of many law schools in community development, profiling examples of specific programs in which students are involved.

David Coleman, David Madway, Bruce Kennedy, Franklin Hartman & Michael Smith, A LAWYER'S MANUAL ON COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (1999).

Abstract (from publisher): This book was prepared by the Economic Development and Law Section of the National Housing and Economic Development Law Project. The principal function of the Project is to provide back-up assistance in housing and economic development law to attorneys working in OEO funded Legal Services and community development corporations.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Evolving Economies (Megan M. Carpenter ed., 2012).

Abstract (from publisher): The very foundation of the economy is changing. Across the United States, primary and secondary sector industries are no longer as viable as they once were - because the particular businesses are no longer profitable, because the underlying resources are no longer as plentiful or desirable, or because human activity is not essential to various aspects of an industry's operations. As economies evolve from traditional industrial resources, such as mining and manufacturing, to 'new' resources, such as information and content, innovation and entrepreneurship are key.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Evolving Economies examines the role of law in supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in communities whose economies are in transition. It contains a collection of works from different perspectives and tackles tough questions regarding policy and practice, including how support for entrepreneurship can be translated into policy. Additionally, this collection addresses more concrete questions of practical efficacy, including measures of how successful or unsuccessful legal efforts to incentivize entrepreneurship may be, through intellectual property law and otherwise, and what might define success to begin with.


Abstract: Addresses microenterprise and seeks to offer guidance to lawyers who volunteer to represent microentrepreneurs and microenterprise development organizations that facilitate the development of these small businesses. The aspects covered in this manual include: how lawyers can get involved in microenterprise; guidelines on legal formation issues and business issues for microbusinesses; setting up microenterprise programs; information on organizations that support microenterprise and assistance provided by federal agencies. The manual also includes a workbook containing sample loan documents and other resources.


Abstract (from publisher): This book is written to inspire and guide lawyers who represent microentrepreneurs and their businesses, as well as the microenterprise development organizations that facilitate the development of these small businesses. This book seeks to offer an overview of issues affecting microenterprise programs and resources in the industry. Chapters I and II introduce the legal community to the burgeoning microenterprise development industry and the lawyer’s role in helping microenterprise programs. Chapters III and IV discuss legal formation issues for new or expanding microenterprises and program planning issues. Chapters V and VI review funding, legal and business issues for microenterprises, and microenterprise development programs, and Chapter VII is a summary of future trends in the industry. The appendix provides legal resources for attorneys representing microenterprise programs and their clients.


Abstract (from publisher): This book documents the themes and trends of the contemporary CED movement and provides guidance for strengthening our communities and ensuring that they and their residents prosper and compete in today's global economy. Among other things, the book covers CED in the global economy, the role of nonprofits in CED, Government CED tools, community responsive trends, core components of healthy communities, environmental considerations, and the importance of individual and community assets.

National Economic Development and Law Center, A LAWYER'S MANUAL ON COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (1974).


Abstract: This book provides a comprehensive review of the evolution of Community Economic Development. It examines the operating premises and strategies of the movement, along with the institutional forms that support CED efforts, such as nonprofits, cooperatives, churches, business corporations, and public agencies. The book looks at the combination of local political mobilization with entrepreneurial initiative, electoral accountability and market competition and finds that this phenomenon has catalyzed new forms of property rights designed to motivate investment and civic participation while curbing the dangers of speculation and middle-class flight. The book examines many localities and appraises the strengths and weaknesses of the prevailing approach to Community Economic Development.


Susan D. Bennett, Little Engines that Could: Community Clients, Their Lawyers, and Training in the Arts of Democracy, 2002 Wis. L. Rev. 469 (2002).

Abstract: We assume a lot about the virtues of governance "from the bottom up." We trust in it as an antidote: to oppression from the other direction; to the kind of "top-down" planning that we blame for the tragedies of urban renewal; and to the hubris of any "helping professionals" who think they have good ideas about the way in which communities ought to be helped. In short, we place a great deal of faith in the authenticity of the neighborhood-based organization as an engine of democracy. Less emphatically, we also (sometimes) assume that programs run by neighborhood-based organizations carry with them guarantees of efficiency and efficacy. It is an oft-repeated, if unproven, maxim that services delivered "low to the ground" may reach their intended beneficiaries with less slippage than if administered from a great height, and, benefiting from incorporation of local knowledge into design choice, may address needs more appropriately.

Lauren Breen, Louise Howells, Susan R. Jones & Deborah S. Kenn, An Annotated Bibliography of Affordable Housing and Community Economic Development Law, 7 J. Affordable Hous. & Cmt’y Dev. L. 340 (1998).

Abstract (from authors): As legal educators and co-chairs of the Legal Educators' Practice Division of the Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, we have often found the need for a comprehensive overview of law review articles on affordable housing and community economic development law to inform our teaching and practice. Our recognition of the importance of digesting and summarizing the literature in this rapidly developing field led to the creation of this annotated bibliography. It is important to say a few words about our methodology because we discovered a rich body of literature and had to make choices about what to include. We were guided by scholarly work on the most effective way to prepare an annotated bibliography, which encouraged us to make tough decisions about what to exclude. With a few exceptions, pre-1990 literature has been specifically excluded. We also excluded student notes and comments, some articles on environmental issues, and other topics related to affordable housing and community economic development, for example, articles detailing the technical requirements of public and subsidized housing. Although poverty is inextricably linked to affordable housing and community economic development, we did not include poverty law literature. Finally, we have specifically excluded articles published in the Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law on the theory that it is a specialty journal and each article in its seven volumes would be worthy of annotation, making this project unwieldy. The bibliography entries are divided into two sections, one on affordable housing and one on community economic development. Each part is organized alphabetically.

Juliet M. Brodie, Little Cases on the Middle Ground: Teaching Social Justice Lawyering in Neighborhood-Based Community Lawyering Clinics, 15 Clinical L. Rev. 333 (2008-2009).

Abstract (from author): This Article describes the model of a “neighborhood-based community lawyering clinic,” and theorizes how it serves clinical education's twin pillars of social justice and pedagogy. These clinics are characterized by a neighborhood location, a robust and evolving caseload, and a docket that shifts in response to threats and opportunities that emerge on a local community's landscape. With an emphasis on individual “service” cases over which students have primary responsibility, each student in such a clinic has exposure to a range of clients, cases, subject matters, and modes of lawyering. The Article summarizes salient critiques of such a docket on both justice and pedagogical grounds, and argues that the docket in fact deconstructs the putative tension in clinic design between social justice and pedagogy. The Article articulates the role that the neighborhood docket can play in the professional education of both public interest minded students and those headed for the private sector. Using the Carnegie Report's three apprenticeships as a framework, the Article concludes that the general poverty law practice of a neighborhood-based community lawyering clinic offers unique lessons about the role of law, lawyering, and lawyers in addressing enduring questions of access to justice and persistent social inequalities.

Debbie Chang & Brad Caftel, Creating Opportunities through Litigation: Community Economic Development Remedies, 26 Clearinghouse Rev. 1057 (1992-1993).

Abstract (from publisher): Incorporating community economic development remedies into litigation can result in relief that benefits not only plaintiffs, but a broader population of low-income residents.

Roger A. Clay, Jr. & Susan R. Jones, A Brief History of Community Economic Development, 18 J. Affordable Hous. & Cmt’y Dev. L. 257 (2009).

Abstract (from authors): There is no standard definition of community economic development (CED). It has been described as a strategy that includes a wide range of economic activities and programs for developing low-income communities such as affordable housing and small business development--from creation and expansion of neighborhood businesses to larger commercial and retail services--and job creation, some of which has been accomplished by financing and operating shopping centers, industrial parks, retail franchises, and other small businesses. CED also includes many other initiatives and services to fight homelessness, lack of jobs, drug abuse, violence and crime, and to provide quality child care and medical care as well as homeownership opportunities.

Scott L. Cummings, Community Economic Development as Progressive Politics: Towards a Grassroots Movement for Economic Justice, 54 Stan. L. Rev. 399 (2001).

Abstract: Community economic development (CED) emerged during the 1990s as the dominant approach to redressing urban poverty, replacing entitlement programs and civil rights initiatives with a market-based strategy for promoting economic equality. Premised on the idea that poor neighborhoods are underutilized markets in need of private sector investment, market-based CED gained a broad range of ideological adherents, resonating with proponents of black nationalism, neoliberal economics, and postmodern micropolitics. As the decade brought economic issues to the fore and legal services advocates faced mounting federal restrictions, increasing numbers of poverty lawyers adopted the market-based CED model, providing transactional legal assistance to community organizations engaged in neighborhood revitalization initiatives. Yet, despite the expansion of the market paradigm, analysts have largely avoided a critical dialogue about CED theory and have neglected a careful examination of the evolving nature of grassroots CED practice.

Michael Diamond, Community Lawyering: Revisiting the Old Neighborhood, 32 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 67 (2000).

Abstract: This paper argues that a relational or rights based analysis of the lawyer's role is insufficient to address the real problems of poverty. It begins by reiterating a position that is widely held among progressive lawyers; that the struggle against subordination requires community organizing and collective action. It goes on to discuss the definition and nature of community and the role of a lawyer who seeks to represent "community" interests. Communities are not monolithic and incorporate many different, often competing, views. How should a lawyer distinguish between these views and choose clients so as to maintain a coherence in his or her practice? How should a lawyer relate to a group once a client is chosen? And most importantly, what role should a lawyer play in assisting a client to plan and implement strategies? The paper argues that these strategies often need to be political, not merely legal, and that community lawyers or, as the author has dubbed them, activist lawyers, must participate in building an integrated strategic plan and in its implementation.

Lawrence J. Fox, Legal Services and the Organized Bar: A Reminiscence and a Renewed Call for Cooperation, 17 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 305 (1998).

Abstract: The federal Legal program was launched amidst great hope and promise. Funding seemed abundant and the Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow Program was emblematic of the optimism and grand vision. Two hundred fifty lawyers fully funded by the federal government to participate in law reform, lobbying and community organizing all sounds quaint today in light of federal funding cut-backs, program restrictions and political attacks. One stalwart in all of this has been the role of the organized bar, particularly the American Bar Association, which helped launch the Legal Services Corporation, has led the charge to save the enterprise and avert more drastic funding cuts, and has kept legal services to the poor at the top of its agenda. The article highlights some additional areas in which the organized bar can help today, while recognizing that there will always be a tension between establishment lawyers and those who practice full time in the poverty vineyard.

Michael J. Fox, Some Rules for Community Lawyers, 14 Clearinghouse Rev. 1 (1980).

Eric J. Gouvin, Foreword: Law, Business, and Economic Development—Current Issues and Age-Old Battles, 29 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 1 (2006) and the various symposium pieces from that volume of the western new england law review

Abstract: This foreword provides an overview of the papers presented at a conference on entrepreneurship and community economic development. The topics covered include (1) the Future of the Community Reinvestment Act; (2) Eminent Domain and Public Use Takings after Kelo v. New London; (3) The Impact of Professional Sports on the Local Economy; and (4) Barriers to Access to Financial Services for Disenfranchised Groups.

Eric J. Gouvin, Foreword: Entrepreneurship, Race, and the Current Environment for Community Economic Development, 30 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 1 (2007) and the various symposium pieces from that volume of the western new england law review

Abstract: This foreword provides an overview of the papers presented at a conference on entrepreneurship and community economic development. The topics covered include 1) whether set-aside programs and affirmative action initiatives have served the goal of developing minority and women owned businesses; (2) whether public-private partnerships work and if so under what conditions; (3) identifying and addressing challenges facing urban entrepreneurship; and (4) assessing whether “fringe banking” such as check cashing facilities and pay lenders are predators or are instead a new model for delivering financial services in underserved communities.

Angela Harris, Margaretta Lin & Jeff Selbin, From “The Art of War” to “Being Peace”: Mindfulness and Community Lawyering in a Neoliberal Age, 95 Cal. L. Rev. 2073 (2007).

Abstract: In this Article from a symposium on "Race, Economic Justice, and Community Lawyering in the New Century," the authors describe a project in West Oakland, California, and the community struggle it provoked as an illustration of the link between the fight for economic justice and the work of community lawyering. The article raises a number of questions about the role of the community lawyer and the interaction between the lawyer's agenda and the needs of the clients being served.

Darian M. Ibrahim, Financing the Next Silicon Valley, 87 Wash. U. L. Rev. 717 (2010).

Abstract (from author): Silicon Valley 's success has led other regions to attempt their own high-tech transformations, yet most imitators have failed. Entrepreneurs may be in short supply in these "non-tech" regions, but some non-tech regions are home to high-quality entrepreneurs who relocate to Silicon Valley due to a lack of local financing for their start-ups. Non-tech regions must provide local finance to prevent entrepreneurial relocation and reap spillover benefits for their communities. This Article compares three possible sources of entrepreneurial finance - private venture capital, state-sponsored venture capital, and angel investor groups - and finds that angel groups have distinct advantages when it comes to funding innovation in non-tech regions. This entrepreneurial finance story is then supplemented by a "law and entrepreneurship" story - specifically, a look at securities laws that might impede optimal levels of angel group financing.

Shin Imai, A Counter-Pedagogy for Social Justice: Core Skills for Community-Based Lawyering, 9 Clinical L. Rev. 195 (2002).

Abstract: An important component of lawyering for social justice is working in communities. In addition to conventional skills, such as legal analysis and litigation, community-based lawyers need skills not taught in the mainstream curriculum. This article describes a counter-pedagogy for teaching students three core skills for community lawyering: how to collaborate with members of the community; how to acknowledge personal identity, race and emotion; and how to take a community perspective on legal problems. The author argues that these skills cannot be taught in isolation, but should be integrated into the teaching itself, including the teaching of substantive areas of the law. He suggests, for example, that students are more likely to learn how to collaborate if the entire clinical course is based on a collaborative approach, rather than having a special class dedicated to "collaboration." The article includes descriptions of techniques and exercises used at Osgoode Hall Law School in the Intensive Programme on Poverty Law at Parkdale Community Legal Services and in the Intensive Programme in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments.

Susan R. Jones, Small Business and Community Economic Development: Transactional Lawyering for Social Change and Economic Justice, 4 Clinical L. Rev. 195 (1997).

Abstract (from the introduction): This article analyzes the benefits to clinical legal education of these transactional clinics' in contrast to more traditional clinics by exploring these clinics contribution to the development of the skills and values sought to be taught through clinical legal education. Part I explains the importance of microbusinesses to community economic development. It also describes the evolution of the inclusion of small business and CED clinics in clinical legal education. Part II uses the George Washington University Small Business Clinic to analyze the unique benefits of transactional clinics in contrast to more traditional clinics--typically involved in criminal, family and entitlement work--to explore the impact of small business clinics in developing skills such as interviewing and counseling. It will also analyze small business clinics' impact in teaching students values related to lawyers' professional roles in particular the uniquely clinical concern regarding lawyering for social change. Part III concludes that small business and CED clinics provide much needed legal representation to low-income and underrepresented communities and valuable experiential learning opportunities and practical doctrinal knowledge to law students.

Susan R. Jones, Current Issues in the Changing Roles and Practices of Community Economic Development Lawyers, 2002 Wis. L. Rev. 437 (2002).

Abstract (from the introduction): Part I of this Article reviews briefly the background and context of CED as part of traditional public interest law. Part II examines significant changes in public interest lawyering while exploring aspects of the CED experience, such as funding trends for nonprofit organizations influenced by new economy principles of social venture philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and social purpose business. This Section also examines the wide array of legal services needed to support enhanced strategic collaborations--a hallmark of today's CED practice--and the implications for CED lawyering anticipated by multidisciplinary practice. Part III provides lessons from law school clinical practice of enhanced strategic collaborations and highlights current trends and issues involving technology, leadership development, community organizing, asset accumulation, and social capital. Part IV concludes that there is an enhanced role for CED activist lawyers to play in the social, political, and economic dimensions of community revitalization.

Tanya M. Marcum & Eden S. Blair, Entrepreneurial Decisions and Legal Issues in Early Venture Stages: Advice That Shouldn’t be Ignored, 54 Bus. Horizons 143 (2011).

Abstract: Entrepreneurs make numerous business decisions each day, many of which have significant legal implications. Due to a lack of time and knowledge, however, these entrepreneurs too often make quick decisions regarding important matters—both current and future—based on a few primary factors, one of which is cost. Entrepreneurs appear to make decisions based on concrete, but frequently inappropriate, factors such as comparison of bottom-line dollar value or relatively small fees; in this scenario, short-term decisions are made that do not take into account intricate legal and strategic implications which may arise down the road. As such, we would suggest a different approach whereby entrepreneurs take the time to learn about and understand the implications of these decisions on long-term sustainability, liability protection, and growth potential. Herein, we discuss how using cost to compare and make decisions has an impact on three issues with legal implications that occur early in the start-up process, and which pose major implications for the entrepreneur if he or she does not deal with them properly. Toward this end, we propose some solutions to help prevent this from happening.

National Economic Development and Law Center, Practicing Community Corporate Law, 23 Clearinghouse Rev. 889 (1989).

Leslie Newman, Law Schools: Building a Corps of Lawyers Skilled in CED, 1 Nat'l Econ. Dev. and L. Ctr. Monograph (1993).

William P. Quigley, Reflections of Community Organizers: Lawyering for Empowerment of Community Organizations, 21 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 455 (1995).

Abstract: Community organizers are in an important position to observe and evaluate lawyers in community organizations. Because lawyers ask doctors and engineers to help shape and evaluate their legal product, lawyers should also consider the insights of community organizers in developing approaches to lawyering with organizations where the goal is empowerment of the organization's members. This article considers the observations and reflections of three community organizers, none of whom are lawyers, who have worked with hundreds of community groups. They were interviewed concerning the role lawyers play in community organizations, how they help and how they hurt the empowerment of organizations. These reflections offer insight on the role of the law and lawyers in working with empowering community organizations.

Daniel S. Shah, Lawyering for Empowerment: Community Development and Social Change, 6 Clin. L. Rev. 217 (1999).

Abstract: Since legal scholarship first portrayed community development as a paradigmatic field for lawyers to participate in affecting collective empowerment, lawyers in legal service organizations, law firms, and law school clinics have increasingly engaged in community development practice. Through the representation of community based organizations working to combat the conditions of urban poverty, community development law practice seeks to affect social change for inner city residents through neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing development, and community economic development. How do the processes of community development affect its intended beneficiaries? To what extent does the involvement of lawyers affect the practice, structure, and goals of community development work? To address these questions, this article looks at the relationship between the rhetoric of empowerment and the realities of practicing community development law - from the War on Poverty in the 1960s to Empowerment Zones in the 1990s.

Rutledge A. Simmons, What is Community Economic Development Today?, 19 Bus. L. Today 45 (2009).

Abstract (from author): NeighborWorks America (NeighborWorks), a community economic development (CED) nonprofit, recently negotiated with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) over the use of the term CED to describe the field of use for a trademark it sought to register. The nonprofit was surprised to learn that the PTO has never recognized the term CED in connection with any registered marks. This will remain the case since the parties ultimately agreed upon alternative language. Many practitioners of CED would consider CED to be a fairly well-defined and understood term, and would not fully appreciate the basis for the PTO's resistance. However, an American Bar Association (ABA) panel in which lawyers recounted the novel and interesting ways in which each practiced CED lends some credence to the PTO's position.

David Vidal, Comment, Startup Immigration: Stimulating Startup Communities with Immigrant Entrepreneurs, 45 McGeorge L. Rev. 319 (2013).

Abstract (adapted from author): This Comment links the previously separate concepts of immigration reform and the creation of startup communities. It argues that while recently proposed legislation is a step in the right direction, these proposals still neglect to consider many of the advantages foreign-born entrepreneurs (FBEs) offer startup communities. Recently proposed legislation targets immigrant entrepreneurs using standards such as the type of university degree, capital investment, and the number of jobs created, but these standards fail to take into account much of the human capital advantages that FBEs offer startup ecosystems.

Combining immigration reform with the actual needs and dynamics of proven startup communities could better meet the goals of both immigration reform and still developing startup communities. This Comment proposes modifications to recently proposed legislation to make immigration law less restrictive on FBEs and give local governments the ability to attract and support FBEs that can advance their community. The goal of this Comment is to propose community-friendly modifications to recently proposed legislation that could be implemented with either comprehensive or incremental immigration reform. Part II of this Comment discusses startup communities and the benefits of FBEs in startup ecosystems. Part III provides a brief overview of current immigration law and the barriers FBEs encounter with visas available today. In Part IV, this Comment outlines recently proposed legislation that would reduce immigration barriers for qualified FBEs. Part V analyzes proposed startup legislation and identifies the unmet needs of startup communities and FBEs. In Part VI, this Comment proposes community friendly additions to recently proposed legislation that meets the needs of FBEs, local communities, and policymakers by giving communities a voice in the selection of FBEs. Part VII concludes by discussing the purpose of change and the future of immigrant entrepreneurship.

Online Resources

CFED (Corporation for Enterprise Development), Knowledge Center, Publications

Scott L. Cummings, Global-Local Linkages in the Community Economic Development Field

Abstract: Community Economic Development (CED) is commonly described as a quintessentially local project, one in which communities reconstruct dysfunctional markets as a way of reconstituting social relations and building political strength. As social policy, CED emphasizes local participation in the design and implementation of affordable housing, job creation, and financing programs. From the perspective of progressive lawyering, CED - which is associated with a form of transactional practice focused on negotiating deals on behalf of community-based organizational clients - values grassroots organization, accountability to community members, and local empowerment. This emphasis on localism, although underscoring important structural aspects of CED practice, can also divert attention from the ways in which CED is embedded in regional, national, and global institutional environments - and how such institutional environments shape opportunities for collective action. This essay therefore seeks to widen the lens of traditional CED analysis by making the connection between the local context within which CED activity is ultimately played out and larger processes of globalization that structure opportunities and constraints. In particular, it identifies major global-local linkages within the field of CED, examining how they generate possibilities for grassroots activism and progressive lawyering, while also setting limits on what they can achieve.

D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, Community Economic Development Pro Bono Project

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Community Development Web Resources,

Insight Center for Community Economic Development,

NCRC (The National Community Reinvestment Coalition), Resources

Other Materials

Commentary, Mobilization Lawyering: Community Economic Development in the Figueroa Corridor, 17 J. Affordable Hous. & Cmty. Dev. L. 59 (2008).

Nicole Hong, More and More, There’s No Place Like Home: New Zoning Laws Let Entrepreneurs Operate Out of Their House, Wall St. J., Sept. 30, 2013, at R5.

Leslie Newman & National Economic Development and Law Center, Law Schools and Community Economic Development (1993) (unpublished manuscript).

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