Community Preservation Clinic
Students in the Community Preservation Clinic will develop transactional and litigation skills while exploring a community-based, multi-faceted approach to preserving housing and communities. Projects include advocating for borrowers in foreclosure mediation, representing tenants in foreclosed properties, and developing systemic strategies to address community blight. The Clinic is a graded four (4) credit course and students will be expected to put in a minimum of 180 hours in the course of the semester. In addition to work on cases and projects, students will participate in a classroom component. Class times are listed on the current semester schedule.
If you are considering participating, note that you will be expected to participate in some (not all) of the scheduled court appearances so please consider the feasibility with your existing course schedule.
McLean County Mandatory Foreclosure Mediation Program: The clinic provides direct legal representation to homeowners facing foreclosure as part of the McLean County Mandatory Mediation Foreclosure Program. In this program, the Clinic evaluates loan documents and mortgage foreclosure filings to advise homeowners facing foreclosure and represent them through the mediation process. If a legal defense presents, the Clinic will potentially represent the client through the litigation process. This program is partially funded by the United Way of McLean County and Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.
Bristol Park: The Bristol Park Revitalization Project is coordinated by the City of Champaign Neighborhood Services Department. Its goal is to improve conditions in the Garwood, Shadow Wood, and Bristol Place neighborhoods in Champaign, Illinois. These neighborhoods are located just a few blocks north of the city center. The Community Preservation Clinic became associated with this project in the fall 2011. The Clinic does not act as legal advisor to the City of Champaign but as a resource for the community members. The Clinic has conducted neighborhood canvasses and spearheaded the Neighborhood Wellness Initiative.
Community Engagement and Legal Education: The Clinic utilizes non-traditional advocacy to increase awareness in the community of their legal rights. The project represents a preventative approach focused on community and client empowerment. The overarching goal of this project is to preserve affordable housing by ensuring that renters and homeowners are aware of their options in maintaining the home while providing an opportunity to collaborate with community organizations to impact an entire community.
Centers for Financial Opportunity: The Clinic is working with non-profit organizations and community colleges to develop Next Step, a career and personal financial service center, in Bloomington-Normal and in Champaign-Urbana. The centers will provide user-friendly resources that empower low to moderate income, un- or under-employed individuals in the McLean and Champaign County areas to lead sustainable lifestyles. The centers will provide families with services across three areas: career and education pathways, maximizing income supports, and financial coaching.
Non-Profit Organizational Development: The Clinic provides legal support to established and developing non-profit organizations. Our efforts include the legal formation of new non-profit organizations such as applications for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, Articles of Incorporation, sales tax exemption, by-laws, and name registry. The Clinic also supports established non-profits within Champaign and McLean counties to review best practices, develop new programs, and review current governance.
Sequence and Prerequisites: It is recommended that you have taken or are concurrently enrolled in Professional Responsibility (Law 680). Students must be eligible for certification under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 license which requires, among other things, completion of 45 semester credits prior to the semester in which the license would be effective.
Evaluation: Students will gain skills in client interviewing, memo preparation, regulatory agency contact, administrative agency contact, negotiations with lenders, and litigation. This is a graded course; students' grades are based on their performance in the clinic and seminar. Though students will not be required to attend all court dockets outlined above, students should be available on Monday mornings and have flexibility in their schedules to meet the demands of the clinic.