Lawyers Alliance for New York's economic development practice is an integral part of our mission to provide business law services to nonprofit organizations working to improve the quality of life in New York's low-income neighborhoods. Economic development projects fall within three areas of activity: (1) increasing access to capital and credit, (2) commercial revitalization, and (3) workforce development.
Capital and credit
Lawyers Alliance provides legal advice to various types of nonprofit financial institutions, including community development credit union, nonprofit and microenterprise loan funds. Community development credit unions operate in neighborhoods that are underserved by traditional banks. By offering low-cost checking, savings and IRA accounts, as well as "financial literacy programs" that instruct credit union members in the use of savings and credit, these credit unions are bringing New York's poorest residents into the economic mainstream. Lawyers Alliance also works with nonprofit and microenterprise loan funds, organizations that make below-market rate loans to organizations and individuals who would not qualify for traditional bank financing.
Lawyers Alliance works with nonprofit organizations developing neighborhood retail centers, acquiring and renovating distressed commercial properties, and encouraging new businesses to locate in low-income areas.
Community based organizations are playing a vital role in New York City's implementation of the federal welfare-to-work mandate. They are using their experience and relationships in low-income areas to help residents overcome the obstacles to obtaining meaningful employment and economic self-sufficiency. Lawyers Alliance's workforce development projects involve nonprofits operating a wide variety of programs, from job readiness, skills training and job retention to innovative business ventures that serve as training and placement programs.
The legal work for economic development cases ranges across various areas of law. Examples include drafting and negotiating agreements, providing advice on the appropriate legal structure for a nonprofit organization's joint venture with another nonprofit or for-profit company, creating model loan documents for a nonprofit loan fund and helping an organization lease or purchase property. Lawyers Alliance supports volunteer attorneys working on economic development cases in a number of ways. We assign a member of our in-house legal staff to co-counsel each case that is placed with a pro bono attorney. In addition, as part of this web site, we have an Economic Development library containing basic and advanced practice information relating to lending, business ventures and workforce development. We welcome attorneys with an interest in this topic to join the practice area, volunteer to assist an economic development organization and submit relevant materials for the library.
Go back to New York Community Development and Nonprofit Law Home