CDLC Student Interns
Read About Their Great Internships!
The Community Development Law Center (CDLC) provides students with hands-on experience in community development, sustainable development, land use, environmental, and non-profit governance.
“My experience with CDLC gave context to much of my three years of course work because I had the opportunity to apply the theories I learned in classes like ethics, land use, and property transactions to local Portland and statewide development decision making. The CDLC was a great opportunity to use the high level skills of a lawyer to make positive changes in peoples’ lives. My work at CDLC taught me that even the most complex contracts, financial transactions, and public processes can be made simpler for a client by the due diligence of its attorneys. These are the skills we all need to learn to be effective counsel after law school.”
“My experience at CDLC taught me how to manage the legal practice and be a professional in the field, when I began as an associate at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt everything looked familiar to me because of the work I had done at CDLC. I had the opportunity to do considerable research directly related to my current practice and work.
The CDLC is doing a great service by offering presentations and seminars to organizations that do not necessarily have a lot of money, providing them with valuable information and teaching them important skills. Students interested in tax, business and real estate law would greatly benefit from experiencing the transactional side of the legal practice at CDLC.
I learned a great deal about the structure of the affordable housing industry and its importance to the community. It was amazing to take a field trip to an affordable housing site, I saw how the work that I did in the office was taken into physical form. I also met residents, some who are not from this country, but have been provided with a nice place to live and a means to a better life for them and their children because of the CDLC.”
Carey Catherine Whitehead, Public Interest Law Clerk
“Thanks to the generous support of Lewis and Clark’s Public Interest Law Project, I spent my summer as a Public Interest Law Clerk at the Community Development Law Center (CDLC). I sought out the clerkship because CDLC is one of only a handful of its kind nation-wide, and provides a unique model within the affordable housing sector. I was drawn to the combination of expertise in pro-active land use planning policies with quality legal support to affordable housing clients.
During my clerkship, I observed first hand CDLC’s effort to improve the structures supporting Oregon’s affordable housing goals. For example, CDLC works with many non-profit clients that have few resources available to them. The staff is constantly thinking about how to improve their clients’ positions by incorporating industry-wide best-practices and strategies that further shared goals in the affordable housing industry. This effort to strengthen the sector can be seen in CDLC’s willingness to post model documents freely on its website, where non-profits can utilize them to improve their own situations and minimize attorney’s fees. I observed the staff attorneys as they collaborated with leading housing organizations in other states to bring the best cutting-edge housing models home to Oregon.
I saw first hand the respect this expertise earns CDLC attorneys among Oregon’s legal community. During my clerkship, CDLC attorneys were invited to share their knowledge by providing testimony to the state legislature and by leading a CLE at the Oregon State Bar Real Estate and Land Use Section retreat. I was invited to attend both sessions. This invitation stands as just one example among many of the entire staff’s commitment to mentorship. Many of my peers clerking in other locations were assigned research projects and never left the office. My experience stood apart. The CDLC attorneys gave freely of their time, both in advising the projects I undertook and providing general advice about law school and my future goals.
My major project at CDLC related to statewide affordable housing preservation. I helped complete a white paper that focused on opportunities for manufactured home park residents to collectively purchase their parks from the current park owners through various mechanisms. I learned a tremendous amount about resident-owned parks, which not only maintain the current stock of affordable housing, but benefit everyone by adding to community stability. As part of the project, I helped complete a series of model documents for use in Oregon in future resident purchase projects using a nonprofit mutual benefit cooperative model for collective ownership.
While this project focused on Oregon-based solutions, the knowledge and skills I gained have broad applicability. Almost every state in the nation is faced with similar circumstances. This special project not only helped to further the goals of CDLC and its Oregon-based clients, but will contribute substantially to my ability to draw from the same toolbox when I return to my Virginia home.”