Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-29-2019

Abstract

This short essay represents an extended abstract of some ideas prepared for a moderated discussion group entitled “CED Is Access to Justice” at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego in January, 2018. The Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law has now published the collected abstracts from the discussants, including this piece. The aim of this essay is to identify the social justice implications and community-building qualities of what it calls “retail” community economic development (CED)—that is, transactional work on behalf of individual entrepreneurs seeking to establish successful new businesses, typically in underserved localities. Critics persuasively note the limitations of small-scale entrepreneurship efforts, especially compared to those of deeper, wider, community-driven campaigns. But, as the essay notes, there are important reasons not to neglect the individual startup enterprises, especially within neglected or under-resourced neighborhoods. The essay also notes the triage choices available to public interest or legal services agencies that may serve individual clients in distress who need litigators to represent them, or instead represent founders who need transactional attorneys. It is not self-evident that the former should take priority over the latter.

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