Community Development Law Clinic

Students in the Community Development Law Clinic (CDL) provide corporate and transactional counsel to North Carolina nonprofit community development organizations. The CDL clinic is housed within the law school’s Institute for Innovation. Students work collaboratively with other Institute for Innovation clinics like the Startup NC Law Clinic and the Intellectual Property Clinic to serve the legal needs of North Carolina social entrepreneurs. In this clinic, students work on a wide variety of business law projects including:

  • Forming new nonprofit corporations
  • Spinning off subsidiaries for existing corporations
  • Creating hybrid (nonprofit/for-profit) entities to house social enterprises
  • Advising organizations regarding local, state and federal taxation
  • Advising organizations regarding state and federal employment law
  • Negotiating and drafting contracts and leases
  • Helping structure joint ventures between nonprofit and for-profit entities
  • Obtaining necessary state licenses for nonprofit programs

Enrollment Options and Credit Hours

  • Full year – 4 credit hours per semester
  • Fall semester only – 4 credit hours
  • Spring semester only – 4 credit hours

Skills Learned

  • Client interviewing and counseling
  • Legal writing: Extensive experience with drafting corporate documents and authoring memorandums that provide clearly explained legal advice to clients
  • Legal research and analysis: Understanding legal doctrines and applying them to novel factual situations
  • Legal problem solving: Dividing large, complex problems into smaller ones, prioritizing them, then resolving them one-by-one
  • Teamwork and collaboration with colleagues and clients in legal representation
  • Understanding the lawyer’s role in representing organizations and society
  • Ethical reasoning, particularly in the context of entity representation


  • Pre- or co-requisite courses: The Law of Nonprofit Organizations
  • Recommended courses: Business Associations


James Dickson Phillips, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Community Development Law Clinic
(919) 445-0696 |