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Tag: Amanda Kool

Taking people ‘to where they want to be’

Via Harvard Gazette

Law School students help struggling small-time entrepreneurs flourish


Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Amanda Kool (red jacket) directs the Community Enterprise Project at Harvard Law School, where students like Matthew Diaz (from left), Carolyn Ruiz, and Steven Salcedo help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and community groups.

Hailing from Buffalo, a once-prosperous city in upstate New York, Steven Salcedo knew how a lack of continued economic development can hinder families and mire people in poverty and hopelessness.

But it was only after he took a course at Harvard Law School (HLS) that Salcedo realized that lawyers could help foster better times for communities.

“Lawyers can’t make economic development happen by themselves,” said Salcedo. “But we can contribute to help solve poverty by enabling people to do what they want to do. We’re like a bridge; we take them from where they are to where they want to be.”

The class Salcedo took, “Community Enterprise Project of the Transactional Law Clinics,” allows HLS students to help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and community groups create businesses, obtain permits and licenses, and negotiate contracts and other transactional (non-litigation) services.

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Harvard Law’s Community Enterprise Project Heads to Oakland, Forges Partnership with Sustainable Economies Law Center

L-R: Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law Amanda Kool, SELC Executive Director Janelle Orsi, SELC Director of Economic Democracy Ricardo Samir Nuñez, SELC Intern Cyndi Malasky, and Matt Diaz J.D. '16

L-R: Clinical Instructor & Lecturer on Law Amanda Kool, SELC Executive Director Janelle Orsi, SELC Director of Economic Democracy Ricardo S. Nuñez, SELC Intern Cyndi Malasky, and Matt Diaz ’16

By Matt Diaz, J.D. ’16 

In early August, Amanda L. Kool, Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor of Harvard Law School’s Community Enterprise Project of the Transactional Law Clinics (“CEP”), and CEP clinical student Matt Diaz, J.D. ’16, met with staff members of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (“SELC”) in Oakland, California to cement a partnership between the two organizations. With a shared ambition to foster community economic development through innovative approaches to transactional law, the partnership between the relatively-new law school clinic and the influential legal services organization carries tremendous potential for the organizations themselves, the clients they represent, and lawyers interested in how transactional law can play an important role in the modern economy.

Co-founded by Janelle Orsi and Jenny Kassan, SELC engages a broad set of legal approaches to facilitate “community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment.” Through its various interconnected programs—including its program focused on promoting cooperative businesses—the organization offers legal expertise to empower communities to transition to fairer and more robust local economies. SELC’s multifaceted strategy involves legislative advocacy, workshops, and educational materials for lawyers and community members, and the delivery of legal services through channels such as its “Resilient Communities Legal Cafe,” where SELC staff and volunteer attorneys provide legal consultations to community businesses and organizations.

CEP is similarly invested in community economic development, though CEP’s targeted communities are those that surround the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. In addition to representing clients with a wide range of transactional legal needs, CEP students work in small groups to connect with community organizations, identify transactional legal needs common to their community, and develop tailor-made, comprehensive strategies to address those needs.

Cooperative Connection

During the fall semester, a group of CEP students will work closely with SELC staff to create a comprehensive guide that demystifies the myriad laws related to forming and operating a cooperative business in Massachusetts. The collaboration between CEP and SELC will afford the students access to some of the nation’s foremost experts on cooperatives, while CEP’s local community ties and outreach efforts ensure that the guide will benefit from a strong network of cooperative lawyers and technical assistance providers in Greater Boston, as well. Once finished, the guide will be published, translated, and distributed through the Transactional Law Clinics’ website and through the project’s community partners, as well as hosted by SELC on the state-by-state resources page of their popular website,

Immigrant Entrepreneurship

CEPIn addition to the cooperative guide, CEP tapped SELC’s expertise to finalize a document produced last semester by CEP students Susan Nalunkuma, LL.M. ’15, Steven Salcedo, J.D. ’16, and Diaz. This document, A Legal Overview of Business Ownership for Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Massachusetts, was created in partnership with the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative and is intended for use by immigrant entrepreneurs in Massachusetts, as well as by technical assistance providers and community organizers who work with immigrant entrepreneurs across the state.

Because of the document’s comprehensive foray into diverse areas of law, preparation of the materials entailed cutting-edge research at the intersection of business law, employment law, tax law, and immigration law, bringing together dozens of lawyers, academics, and professionals in the community and across the country. Due to the profile of the project, CEP students and staff were able to connect with people such as Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who became a lawyer in 2014 after a five-year legal battle that ended with a new state law permitting undocumented immigrants to be admitted to the California bar.

“CEP has a successful track record of creating well-researched, useful publications amid the community workshops, client representation, and other great work CEP students complete each semester. However, this project proved to be our most challenging one yet, due to the many areas of law involved and the fact that no one, to our knowledge, has ever compiled such a thorough analysis of the many legal implications of immigrant entrepreneurship. We could not have completed this project without our lead project partner (the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative) and their meaningful connections to the population at the heart of this document, and we are indebted to countless lawyers and other experts across the country who advised and supported us along the way.” ­–Amanda L. Kool, Lecturer on Law  

Though the document was only recently published, A Legal Overview of Business Ownership for Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Massachusetts promises to have national significance, as other organizations already plan to build upon CEP’s work by creating new iterations of the document for other states across the U.S. This fall, Professor Eliza Platts-Mills and her students in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic of the University of Texas Law School will be modeling CEP’s project on behalf of immigrant entrepreneurs in Texas, and similar collaborations have been proposed by lawyers in other states. CEP and SELC are currently exploring ways in which SELC can host these state-specific resources for immigrant entrepreneurs on their popular website.

“Working on the immigrant entrepreneurs document has served as an invaluable source of development for me,” Diaz said. “The project presented an opportunity to make a significant impact in uncharted legal territory, uncovering a rabbit hole of legal research possibilities. The effect we have been able to spark on a sizable underrepresented population is a testament to CEP, which allows students to tap into their entrepreneurial spirits and target relevant issues afflicting local community members. I cannot wait to see that effect expand, as organizations around the country build upon the foundation we have built.” –Matt

You Help Me, He Helps You: Dispute Systems Design In The Sharing Economy


We’re excited to announce a new article co-authored by HNMCP Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, Heather Scheiwe Kulp, “You Help Me, He Helps You: Dispute Systems Design in the Sharing Economy,” published in the new issue of the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy (Vol. 48, 2015), subtitled “New Directions in Community Lawyering, Social Entrepreneurship, and Dispute Resolution.”

Kulp, and co-author Amanda L. Kool, also a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, discuss the potential for dispute resolution schemes in a sharing economy, one they argue involves a more efficient use of resources. The sharing economy is at the nexus of fast-paced technology that connects people to previously inaccessible resources to increase local consumption. Kulp and Kool argue that such sharing economies maximize the benefits of ownership by leveraging goods and services into a resource generator allowing increased access to goods and services at a lower-than-market rate. This unique market structure requires a distinct set of laws to address the unique relationships involved, and this article explores how attorneys can best assist in managing conflicts in a sharing economy.

Congratulations to Amanda Kool on her promotion to Clinical Instructor

Amanda Kool, Clinical Instructor, Transactional Law Clinics

Amanda Kool, Clinical Instructor, Transactional Law Clinics

For the past two years, Amanda has served as the Transactional Law Clinics (TLC) Fellow, advising students in the Community Enterprise Project, a division of TLC. In that role, she and her students have worked in partnership with various community organizations to address persistent legal barriers to economic development in the City of Boston. Amanda also served as a supervising attorney in the Recording Artists Project, a student practice organization in which teams of law students represent recording artists in contract negotiations, intellectual property protection, and other transactional legal matters.

“After two great years as a Clinical Fellow, I’m thrilled to remain here at Harvard Law School and step into the role of Clinical Instructor at TLC, as well as continue my work with the Recording Artists Project. I’m fortunate to work with such incredible students and colleagues and can’t wait to see where our hard work takes us next.” Amanda’s main focus will now be on supervising clinical students placed at TLC.

She is an active member of the American Bar Association and is the author of numerous publications on community economic development, entrepreneurship, and agriculture law. Recently, she co-authored the article Many Advocates, One Goal: How Lawyers Can Use Community Partnerships to Foster Local Economic Development’ with Brett Heeger, J.D. ’14, and is currently co-authoring an article with Heather Kulp, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer in Law in the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program, tentatively titled, “An Uber Conflict: Dispute Resolution in the Sharing Economy,” which is slated for publication in the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy this fall.

Prior to joining the Transactional Law Clinics, Amanda worked as a corporate and finance associate attorney at Nixon Peabody LLP in Boston. During law school, she completed internships with Judge Susan J. Dlott in the Southern District of Ohio, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Resource Conflict Institute in Nakuru, Kenya, and Nixon Peabody LLP. Following law school, Amanda spent a year as a pro bono attorney with Conservation Law Foundation.

“We are delighted to have Amanda continue on with TLC in her new role as Clinical Instructor,” noted Brian Price, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Transactional Law Clinics. “She is a valued contributor to TLC, including her work with our Community Enterprise Project as well as the Recording Artist Project.  The law school and HLS’ clinical community are fortunate to have her.”

Members of the Harvard Law School Clinical Community Offer Advice to New Clinic Students

At Harvard Law School, clinical work began on Monday, September 8th, and former clinic students, faculty, and fellows have advice for students as they take on a variety of legal challenges. Below are some of the suggestions offered to students. Other members of the clinical community are encouraged and welcomed to offer their own advice by leaving their comments at the end of this blog post.

Brett Heeger, J.D. ’14

Brett Heeger, J.D. ’14

Brett Heeger, J.D. ’14, HLS Exemplary Clinical Student Award Winner
“In addition to looking for particular substantive topics that are of interest, think about what legal skills you’re particularly interested in trying out and developing. For example, the policy clinics can provide valuable experience to anyone looking to engage in local, state, and even national policy work, even if you don’t plan to practice in that topic area. Other clinics will give you writing experience or the chance to develop and present a case. OCP staff and clinicians are great sources of advice as you figure out which skills could be useful to your long term goals and which clinics and SPOs might be a good fit to hone them!”

Kimberly Newberry, J.D. '14

Kimberly Newberry, J.D. ’14

Kimberly Newberry, J.D. ’14, Andrew L. Kaufman Pro Bono Service Award
“There are a couple of really important things to remember when you’re in a clinic. The most obvious can also sometimes be the hardest: the client comes first. A lot of students are used to doing hypothetical/simulated exercises in class, but working with real clients is different. It is important to keep that perspective and keep the client’s best interests in mind, which can admittedly be difficult when you’re serving as an attorney and regular student. Be honest with yourself, your client, and your supervisor about what you can handle. Another thing to remember is that your supervisor should be your new best friend. We have an amazing clinical faculty at HLS and they are willing to pass that wisdom down to the students. So while you get excited about doing real legal work and having control over your cases, don’t forget to check in with your supervisors and take advantage of what their experience has to offer. Good luck!”

Ona Balkus, Clinical Fellow Food Law and Policy Clinic

Ona Balkus, Clinical Fellow Food Law and Policy Clinic

Ona Balkus, Clinical Fellow, Food Law and Policy Clinic of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation
“First, do as many clinics as you can during your time at HLS. Serving real clients and learning about current legal and policy challenges will enrich your law school experience and make you a much stronger lawyer on graduation day. Second, make time to excel in your clinic. Clinical work shouldn’t be squeezed around the edges of other classes and obligations; rather, you’ll get the most out of your clinic experience if you treat it like a part-time job. Edit and turn in professional work products at each step, be present and engaged in meetings, and jump into the research and writing process. You’ll get as much out of your clinic as you put in. Third, use your supervisors as resources. They are highly skilled, experienced public interest lawyers. Get to know them and ask for their advice and insights on your goals for both during and after HLS.”

Sabi Ardalan, Assistant Director and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Sabi Ardalan, Assistant Director and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

Sabi Ardalan, Assistant Director and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program
“In law school, I took as many clinics as possible, and I highly recommend that you do the same. As a student, I learned so much from the faculty, staff, and students I met in the Immigration and Refugee Clinic, the Human Rights Program, the Ghana project, Defenders, PLAP, and CJI. Without my clinical mentors, I would not be where I am today! The clients I represented in law school inspired me and taught me so much too. I feel very lucky to have worked with and learned from them. I encourage you to try a range of different types of clinics — HLS has so many to offer; it will help you figure out what you want to do after you graduate and beyond. And don’t be afraid to push yourself a little outside your comfort zone and try something new. If you’re as nervous about public speaking as I am, for example, take a clinic that requires you to engage in oral advocacy; it’s the best way to learn and receive feedback. Prioritize the clinics that interest you most during registration, and if you’re waitlisted, be patient — the waitlist often turns over. Most important, enjoy this chance to explore and learn and have fun!”

Amanda Kool, Clinical Instructor, Transactional Law Clinics

Amanda Kool, Clinical Instructor, Transactional Law Clinics

Amanda Kool, Clinical Instructor, Transactional Law Clinics
“Many students tell me that their clinical experience was their favorite part about attending Harvard Law School. Enjoy it! This is likely your first – and last – chance to work with clients while your education is still paramount to the billable hours and other pressures of legal practice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, spend extra time looking into alternate theories, or raise new ideas. Figure out what you like and don’t like about the experience, and let that guide you through your future endeavors. Sometimes our ideal career path isn’t just about the substantive area of law we practice, but how we practice it. Clinics are a great place to start figuring out what works best for you.”

Julie McCormack, Senior Clinical Instructor, Disability Litigation & Benefits Advocacy Clinic

Julie McCormack, Senior Clinical Instructor, Disability Litigation & Benefits Advocacy Clinic

Julie McCormack, Senior Clinical Instructor, Disability Litigation & Benefits Advocacy Clinic
First – Own the uncertainty. You are not expected to know exactly what to do in the first few days of your clinic, so don’t pretend that you do. Take advantage of this opportunity to be mentored by experienced instructors who want you to ask questions, want you to get good at what you’re doing, and will guide you to success. Second – Stretch yourself. You might think you don’t want to be a litigator, or a transactional attorney, or do public interest, or do a community-based clinic. Unless you’ve tried it, how can you know? Clinic allows you to try out all kinds of lawyering skills and substantive areas in a totally real but highly supported setting. And it can be even more real off campus (at LSC, for example). Third – Sample by all means, but don’t rule out specializing. There is a bounty of clinical opportunity at HLS, and you can obviously try to cram in as much as possible. But you can also choose not to – sometimes finding a fit where you can deepen your knowledge, experience and mentoring relationship over the course of 2 or more semesters is a better option than hauling yourself up a new learning curve every 4 to 12 weeks. And there’s no wrong choice when your goal is to better yourself while helping others. One sure thing, clinic is as transformative as it is challenging – so embrace and enjoy it!

Many Advocates, One Goal: How Lawyers Can Use Community Partnerships to Foster Local Economic Development

Via the American Bar Association, Business Law Section Community Economic Development Newsletter

By: Amanda L. Kool, Attorney and Clinical Fellow, Harvard Transactional Law Clinics, and Brett Heeger, J.D. Candidate May 2014, Harvard Law School

Community partnerships provide a promising mechanism through which lawyers can promote economic development. When lawyers serve to connect valuable resources rather than solely respond to the needs of individual clients, they can better contribute to the dismantling of legal barriers to economic development. This article will highlight the efforts of the Harvard Transactional Law Clinics, specifically the clinic’s Community Enterprise Project, to use collaborative, project-based lawyering to address systemic legal barriers in the City of Boston. Though law school clinics are well-positioned to implement innovative models for the delivery of legal services, practitioners in other settings can leverage similar models for the benefit of their clients and local communities.

The Traditional Clinical Legal Services Model
Law school clinical programs have risen in popularity as a means to provide law students with an experiential education while delivering valuable legal services to the communities to which the schools belong. In recent years, many law schools have expanded their clinical offerings beyond the traditional model that paired a law student (under the supervision of a practicing attorney) with a low-income individual facing a court appearance or other litigation-related matters. These law schools now offer a range of clinical programs tailored to the interests of the student body, the expertise of faculty, and the particular needs of clients in the area. In addition to expanded litigation-based offerings and policy clinics, some schools have instituted transactional clinical programs. These programs often assist individuals, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations of limited means with some combination of entity formation, contract negotiation and preparation, advice on protecting intellectual property, and (less often) real estate transactions. By participating in these clinics, law students gain not only the substantive legal skills necessary to complete such transactions, but also develop valuable “soft” skills, including experience with client interviewing, issue identification, and case management; in turn, clients of transactional clinics enjoy access to types of legal services not typically offered by other low-cost or pro bono legal services providers.

Read the full article here. 

An enterprising clinic sends student lawyers into the lab, the barbershop and the labyrinth of condominium governance

Via HLS News

In 2010, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—DARPA—put out a challenge. The government agency, which creates national security technologies for the United States, called on researchers across the country to figure out how to improve robotic hands. At Harvard Biorobotics Lab, Leif Jentoft, a Ph.D. candidate, and Yaroslav Tenzer, a postdoctoral researcher, got to work—and started a journey that would include assistance from student lawyer Lauren Gore ’15 through the Transactional Law Clinics of Harvard Law School. The clinics serve community development organizations, low- and moderate-income­ clients, and campus-grown innovators, such as Jentoft and Tenzer, with business, nonprofit, real estate, and entertainment law needs.

Continue reading the full story here.

Clinical Spotlight: Amanda Kool

Amanda Kool, Attorney and Clinical Fellow, Transactional Law Clinics

I began working in the Transactional Law Clinics in August of 2012.

I’ve always been drawn to transactional law, as I like the idea of people working together to accomplish a common goal – though those people may have different ideas about how to get there! The lawyer’s role is to navigate the legal path to that common goal, and I enjoy that process. In our clinic, we assist clients with small business and nonprofit legal matters, real estate transactions, entertainment law matters, and project-based work intended to foster community economic development. I also work with the Recording Artists Project, which is a student practice organization.

This semester I have six students in the Community Enterprise Project, which is a division of the Transactional Law Clinics. One of our projects involves a partnership with a local nonprofit organization that works in the area of affordable housing, and together we are putting together materials to assist people who own condos understand the legal implications of belonging to a condo association. When condo associations fail to properly function, buying and selling those units can become impossible, which stifles economic development in the community. Through the project, we hope to reach people facing these issues and help them out of a tough spot, whether through the written materials, community workshops, or by assisting them with direct legal representation in the clinic.

The best part about my job is the constant interaction I have with interesting people. Most of our clients are entrepreneurs, and their passion is palpable — helping them on their journey from business idea to reality is such a joy. Our students are a brilliant, tenacious team, and it’s a thrill to witness how genuinely invested they are in their clients and projects. I am also grateful to work alongside Brian Price, Jim Jacobs, Joe Hedal, and the other clinicians across HLS, as they are excellent lawyers, committed teachers, and invaluable sounding boards.

When I’m not working, I like to be outside as much as possible, whether spending time with my husband and dog or taking a long bike ride.

ABA’s Natural Resources and Environment Magazine features HLS Cross Clinic Collaboration

L-R: Amanda Kool, Emily Broad Leib

By: Amanda Kool, Clinical Fellow, Transactional Law Clinic & Emily Broad Leib, Director, Food Law and Policy Clinic

Recent years have seen a dramatic shift in consumer attitudes regarding where and how the food they purchase is produced. Responding to the consequences of the consolidated national food supply that occurred as a result of proindustrialization policies and a market driven primarily by cost-efficiency, buyers have grown increasingly aware of the hidden costs of inexpensive food. A growing number of shoppers prefer locally sourced, sustainably produced food and are willing to pay a premium for it. To see this shift in demand, one need only look at the increase in the number of farmers markets across the United States over the past decade: the USDA reports that 8,144 farmers markets are in operation in 2013, which is nearly double the number that existed in 2006.

Unfortunately, as the U.S. food chain grew and consolidated, so did the legal and regulatory regime that governs the food system. The existing body of laws is intended to apply to massive food industries and is thus ill-equipped to govern small-scale, local food enterprises.

Read the full article “Using Cross-practice Collaboration to Meet the Evolving Legal Needs of Local Food Entrepreneurs” to find out how policy lawyers and transactional lawyers can effectively collaborate to improve the food system.

TLC’s Community Enterprise Project Concludes Milestone Semester

L-R: Amanda Kool, Veronica Sauer, Josh Wackerly, Brett Heeger

By: Amanda Kool, Clinical Fellow,Transactional Law Clinic

Wednesday, December 4th was a day for the record books of the revamped Community Enterprise Project of the Transactional Law Clinics (CEP). After months comprised of countless meetings with clients and community partners, treks from campus to Jamaica Plain, toolkit revisions, and lunch jaunts to City Feed, the three CEP students capped the semester with a whirlwind, 12-hour day in which their efforts culminated with an ease which belied the amount of effort it took to get there.

After an end-of-year breakfast in Jamaica Plain and a few finishing touches on individual cases at the Legal Services Center, the team picked up 100 copies of the freshly printed Food Truck Legal Toolkit before heading to Boston’s City Hall. There, CEP was joined by members of the Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), who represent the other half of the cross-clinical team working on the food truck project, and together the clinics presented the materials contained in the toolkit to a lively audience of inspiring food truck owners on behalf of the Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives (OFI). FLPC student Jason Qu ‘14 expertly clarified Boston’s food truck permitting and licensing regimes, while CEP students Veronica Sauer ’14 and Josh Wackerly ‘14 guided the attendees through the finer points of business formation, employment law, and other legal implications of starting a business. “Our challenge [with the toolkit and presentation] was to make a complex body of laws and regulations accessible for the community,” stated Qu. “We ended up creating a valuable resource for potential vendors and for the City itself.” As team members leafed through the 77 page document, which had been carefully organized to guide a potential food truck vendor through the myriad of legal processes of starting a food truck from business plan to sample contracts, Wackerly added, “when you see [the Toolkit] in print, you can definitely appreciate the amount of work the whole team put into it. It was very rewarding to be able to finish such a major project and then have the opportunity to turn around and present that product to the public and immediately witness the positive impact we’ve had on the community.”

At the end of the presentation, each attendee walked away with not only a deeper understanding of the process and a copy of the toolkit, but also an invitation to contact the FLPC/CEP team for individual legal representation, whether for assistance navigating one piece of the process or for help with all of it. Officials from the City of Boston were similarly pleased with the toolkit and presentation. Peter Murphy, Program Coordinator of OFI, commented afterward, “The presentation was thoughtful, incredibly clear, and provided a real benefit to the potential [food truck] vendors. The resources [the clinics] have created for us are really vital to the help that we are able to provide vendors – I cannot thank [CEP and FLPC] enough.” For the FLPC and CEP students involved, the end of Wednesday’s presentation meant a challenging and fulfilling semester of clinical work was now officially behind them. Sauer remarked, “I’m incredibly proud of the toolkit we compiled, as well as the way we all worked together as a team to produce a document that we are all proud of and all feel ownership for. I think creating a lasting resource for the community was a tremendous thing to accomplish.”

For FLPC Director Emily Broad Leib and Transactional Law Clinics attorney and Clinical Fellow Amanda Kool, Wednesday also marked the culmination of over a year’s worth of preparation, but only the beginning of ongoing cross-practice collaboration. Under Broad Leib’s supervision, former students of the FLPC, including Duncan Farthing-Nichol ’14, had begun work with OFI over a year prior to conduct an in-depth review of the city’s current rules for food trucks and recommend changes to streamline the process, improve efficiency, and facilitate expansion of the program. After FLPC delivered policy recommendations on those rules to OFI, FLPC engaged CEP to tackle the general legal challenges faced by aspiring food truck vendors. CEP students, including former student Ryan Hatten ’14, supplemented the permitting and licensing information with the types of general transactional law information for which clients contact the Harvard Transactional Law Clinics each day, but tailored to the specific needs of food truck vendors. Connections were made with existing food trucks, commissary kitchens, payroll service companies, and business assistance providers over the span of a year to fill knowledge gaps in the toolkit. A full description of the project can be found in an article co-authored by Broad Leib and Kool, “Using Cross-practice Collaboration to Meet the Evolving Legal Needs of Local Food Entrepreneurs,” which was published in the Fall 2013 issue of the quarterly American Bar Association magazine Natural Resources and Environment.  Kool explains, “When Emily and I co-wrote the ABA article in the spring, we utilized the publication to outline the steps our respective clinics would each take to get to the project where we wanted it to go. By the time the publication hit mailboxes across the country this week, we had achieved each of those steps, precisely as we had envisioned.”

Yet the production of the Food Truck Toolkit marks only a milestone (if a major one) in the clinics’ efforts to support Boston’s food truck community. Broad Leib, looking forward to next semester, continues, “The next phase of the plan is for CEP to begin representing individual food trucks and transfer the wisdom gained back to FLPC, effectively closing the feedback loop to guide FLPC’s next round of policy recommendations to the City. Though the hardest part is now behind us, this cross-practice collaborative model allows us to continue to work together in a synergistic way, utilizing the particular strengths of each clinic to generate a return on the collaboration that is greater than the sum of its individual successes.”

While the FLPC/CEP food truck project will conduct additional trainings and begin to represent individual food truck vendors moving forward, new client casework and a number of new community projects will be brought into CEP’s mix, as well. Next semester, CEP will double in size, with six students working out of the Legal Services Center. Like this semester, CEP students will split their time between individual, direct client representation and large, collaborative projects. CEP students Wackerly and Brett Heeger ‘14 have decided to continue with CEP into the spring semester. “For me,” states Heeger, “what makes CEP so exciting is the chance we have to think about community needs from multiple angles.” He adds, “Many HLS students are interested in doing pro bono work after graduation, including fellowships like Equal Justice Works and Skadden or pro bono practices within law firms. Project development skills learned through CEP offer direct experience that can be applied to designing or helping to expand pro bono practices – experience that is rarely available, especially in the transactional law realm.”

Despite its rapid growth, CEP will continue to focus its work in the community of Jamaica Plain and surrounding neighborhoods. “It’s been immensely rewarding to immerse myself in the communities in which I’m working,” Heeger continues. “I’ve been invited to concerts where my clients are performing, eaten food that my clients have produced, and bumped into community leaders on the street outside the Legal Services Center. People have been incredibly welcoming and enormously grateful as CEP has attempted to find opportunities to expand and support otherwise underserved needs.”

TLC’s Community Enterprise Project welcomes young hip-hop artists to Harvard Law School

© Photo by Alex Horn
Studio Heat students with Brett Heeger ’14 and Amanda Kool, back right

By: Amanda Kool
Clinical Fellow Transactional Law Clinic

Upon first meeting his new client Javon, aka “Yung Fresh,” clinical student Brett Heeger ’14 asked if Javon’s recent performance to over one hundred corporate leaders from Converse was his biggest performance. “No,” Javon casually replied, “at the Boston Urban Music Festival, I performed to about 50,000 people.” At the time of the Festival, Javon was fourteen years old.

Javon is the senior member of Studio Heat, a group of young Boston musicians that have grown out of the Music Clubhouse at the Blue Hill Chapter of the Boys and Girls Club in Boston. Ranging in age from pre-teen to 18, some of these students have already achieved measures of success that many adults will never obtain. A recent visit to the group’s facilities in Dorchester found students engaged in music lessons, songwriting sessions and laying down tracks, led primarily by senior students in Studio Heat and volunteers.

On November 11, Heeger and the Harvard Transactional Law Clinics (TLC) had the chance to welcome seven middle and high school students from Studio Heat to HLS as part of an introduction to the broader world of the music business. After a brief tour of campus, the group engaged in a mock negotiation intended to teach the students about the role of lawyers in the music industry. The students served as junior attorneys in a negotiation between Royal T (derived from a negotiation exercise created by alum Rafael Mares ’99 while a student in the HLS Recording Artists Project), a fictional recording artist portrayed by Clinical Fellow Amanda Kool, and a fictional record label, Ames Production Company, represented by TLC student Josh Wackerly ‘14. Heeger filled the role of senior attorney on behalf of Royal T, while Professor Brian Price, Director of TLC, served as senior attorney for the production company. Over nearly two hours of client meetings and negotiations, the Studio Heat ‘attorneys’ were able to draft a record deal addressing a number of essential contract terms, including the term  length, advance payments, and ownership of creative rights.

In a debrief over refreshments, students reflected on the exercise and discussed the important and surprisingly large role of lawyers in the music industry. Kirkland Lynch ’14 and Lauren Gore ’14 also joined the conversation to share their experiences working in the music industry and attending law school. Each emphasized how important building a supportive community can be to making choices that might lead to a path of success, whether as an artist or to Harvard Law School. The young students shared their own aspirations, in the music industry and otherwise. One student commented that he now realized that signing a record deal didn’t equal instant fame or success while another admitted that she was considering becoming a lawyer if her plans to make it as a hip hop artist didn’t pan out. Rick Aggeler, Senior Music Director of Studio Heat, said, “[The kids] were so thrilled about the whole experience.  From the tour itself, to working with “Royal T”, and having Brett and Brian act as advisors during the negotiation, it was honestly for me as well one of the coolest field trips I’ve ever gotten to take our kids on.”

The Studio Heat visit to HLS grew out of TLC’s new Community Enterprise Project (CEP), a sub-clinic of TLC that Kool is in the process of growing into its own, stand-alone clinic. CJ Azubuine, Senior Manager of Harvard’s Office of Event Scheduling and Support and volunteer at the Music Clubhouse, originally contacted Professor Price with some basic legal questions related to Studio Heat.  “We’re continuing to help Studio Heat out with some really interesting legal issues, including questions of copyright and licensing when all of the students are minors,” Heeger explained, “and the great part of CEP is that we’re encouraged to think creatively about how to bring our legal expertise to bear to serve our clients.”

Where TLC operates much like a law firm by responding to client requests for direct legal services, CEP aims to engage traditionally underserved neighborhoods in a more proactive way, partnering with community organizations to identify organizational and community needs and develop comprehensive strategies, whether legal or otherwise, to address those needs. Price explains, “When the Clinic moved from the Legal Services Center to campus, we lost some of our connections to Boston’s neighborhoods. I am thrilled that CEP has reemerged and glad to see TLC clinic students back in Jamaica Plain, serving people in and around that community.”

Law students have also responded positively to this opportunity; Heeger and Wackerly are two of the three students in the Community Enterprise Project this semester, and Kool expects the program to contain six students next semester. Heeger reflected on how CEP’s approach to lawyering influenced his representation of Studio Heat. “Here, in conversations with Rick, CJ, and Javon, we realized that the kids themselves could really benefit from an engaging experience with music law, rather than exclusively receiving traditional legal advice from their lawyers. With the team emphasis of CEP, and encouragement from Brian and Amanda, we were able to put together a broader program that was educational and I think extremely fun for both sides.”