Community Development Law Clinic: Case Work Developments

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During the 2014-2015 academic year, Professors Tom Kelley and Judith Wegner supervised ten third-year law students. The students represented twenty clients on a variety of legal matters. As has been the case in past years, these numbers do not reveal the full impact of the CDL Clinic’s work, since each of its clients provides services to numerous individuals and communities.

Examples of the CDL Clinic’s work include:

Client: A highly entrepreneurial and successful hunger relief organization based in Orange County, NC.

Task: Provided comprehensive advice regarding how best to encourage and facilitate the cultivation of affiliated chapters across the United States. Students researched the process of filing for a so-called “group exemption” with the IRS but ultimately advised the client to take a different approach by drafting a multi-faceted contract to govern the relationship between the parent organization and its affiliates. Students also drafted a plain-English guide to help new chapters through the process of independent incorporation.

Client: An organization that provides leadership training and support for LGBTQ youths in North Carolina.

Task: Advised the client regarding corporate risk reduction. Specific tasks included drafting a plain-English transportation policy and a privacy policy related to running criminal background checks on staff members and volunteers.

Client: A longstanding bird club active throughout North and South Carolina.

Task: Drafted plain-English liability waivers for participants in bird club outings. Also furnished comprehensive advice regarding statutory liability protection under North Carolina’s nonprofit law. In addition, provided employment law advice regarding:

  1. whether the organization could legitimately pay its workers as independent contractors
  2. how the organization’s liability exposure would change (for the worse) if it began paying individuals who heretofore had provided volunteer services

Client: An organization based in Chapel Hill that provides mentorship for adolescent and preadolescent girls through athletics.

Tasks: Drafted a comprehensive set of documents, including several inter-related contracts, to guide the development of affiliated chapters at universities across the southeastern U.S. Also performed research and drafted an advisory memorandum concerning compliance with complex NCAA regulations governing the activities of college athletes.

Client: A statewide organization that defends individuals’ and groups’ constitutional rights.

Task: Researched and drafted memorandums on matters of corporate governance. Students focused particular attention on determining the meaning of ambiguous language in North Carolina’s nonprofit corporations statute regarding board members’ votes and notice of special meetings.

Client: A mental health care organization in Durham, North Carolina.

Task: Performed extensive IRS research and provided detailed advice regarding the establishment of a nonprofit medical provider that would be affiliated and co-located with a for-profit provider. Toward the end of the year, CDL students formed the nonprofit and applied for 501(c)(3) status.

Client: A health clinic that provides free and low cost medical care to indigent patients.

Task: Engaged in a comprehensive “legal audit” of the organization’s governing documents and it contracts.

As always, CDL students also formed several new charitable corporations and helped them apply for federal tax exempt status. They included organizations that:
  • Use cutting-edge 3D printing technology to create inexpensive prosthetic hands for children with birth defects. (Students also drafted liability waivers for this organization and advised it regarding fundraising while awaiting its 501(c)(3) determination).
  • Sponsors an arts and music festival and related activities in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Organizes rural, underserved communities in North Carolina to focus on public health concerns and remediation strategies.
  • Consults with K-12 schools to drastically reduce cafeteria-related waste while teaching school children about conservation and recycling.
  • Provide guidance, encouragement, and scholarships to prospective African-American college students in a rural, under-resourced county in North Carolina.
  • Create mobile health clinics in rural Ethiopia.
  • Train and certify dogs and cats as “comfort” animals to assist physically and mentally afflicted individual

Posted by Thomas A. Kelley III (Tom) on Thu. May 28, 2015 3:06 PM
Categories: Community Development Law Clinic
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106


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