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Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative

The Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative, Inc. (“CULI”) began providing transactional, non-litigation legal services to nonprofit organizations in January 1998, from the campus of the University of Connecticut School of Law. In recent years, CULI has expanded its practice to include housing authorities and municipalities in its client base.

With the assistance of law students, CULI provides critical legal assistance for the nonprofit and governmental sectors. Through this hands-on work, law students receive a unique practical learning experience and develop a basic understanding of the practice of transactional law.

CULI’s staff attorneys conduct a clinic focused on transactional lawyering. That includes a one-term class with one 2-hour seminar each Thursday afternoon. Additionally, students are expected to complete at least eight hours, on average, per week of work on different client projects. Each student is expected to interact directly with clients and is assigned three to five projects, including an incorporation and application for tax-exempt status, negotiation and drafting of contracts, and a real estate project for nonprofit or governmental client.

Students attend client meetings, draft documents and take responsibility for meeting the client’s needs, working closely with the CULI staff lawyers. Seminars include overviews of nonprofit corporate structures and urban dynamics, real estate development for nonprofit and governmental clients, fundamentals of contract negotiation and drafting, conflicts of interest, visiting lecturers and reports from students about their projects.

In addition to offering a weekly seminar each semester, CULI also offers the following options:

Work Study

Students eligible for work-study jobs may work at CULI.  Work-study students may be assigned anything from filing and other clerical/paralegal functions to legal research, drafting or other work with clients and their projects, depending upon the experience of the student. Contact Bambi Roberts after confirming your eligibility for coverage by the Work Study program.

Summer Internships

CULI continues to provide active client support and legal assistance throughout the year, even when classes are not in session. CULI looks for five to six summer interns to continue the work of the students during the year and undertake larger, more intensive projects. Students may apply for PILG or other grants to work at CULI.  Some interns have worked full-time and others part-time; some have worked for law school credits, others have volunteered to gain the experience and meet their pro bono pledge.  Inquire at CULI if you have an interest in a summer internship.

Externships

CULI also offers individual externships during the school year, in which students can earn credits for experiential learning.  An externship with CULI is similar to any other off-campus externship: we assign a range of legal projects for current clients, and we work with the student on a regular weekly basis for a specific number of hours to meet the externship requirements.  CULI also supports the reflective element of an externship, as it parallels the clinical students’ journal work.

Pro Bono

CULI can provide individual students seeking the opportunity to meet their pro bono pledge with short-term, discrete or other types of projects that would qualify for the pro bono pledge commitment.  CULI may also be able to work with a student who has identified a specific project or need for pro bono work in the community, but has no supervision for that project.

The Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative, Inc. (“CULI”) began providing legal services to needy nonprofit organizations in January 1998, from the campus of UConn School of Law. With the assistance of law students, CULI has provided a unique service learning opportunity for law students and critical legal assistance for the nonprofit sector that has been underserved for decades.

CULI provides legal services to nonprofit groups and corporations working in Connecticut. CULI clients should have a commitment to neighborhood revitalization in some way, although that definition has been broadly construed. Most of CULI’s clients are located in urban communities. CULI clients typically have no budget to cover legal expenses, although several clients have paid for CULI’s legal services, on a sliding scale, where they had the financial capacity.

If your group or nonprofit corporation needs non-litigation legal assistance, you should contact CULI to find out whether we can help. Please note, however, that CULI does not have enough personnel to meet the needs of all potential clients and may at times need to deny services to potential clients who may be “eligible” in all other respects.

For application requirements and instructions, please contact:

Office of the Registrar
55 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Phone: (860) 570-5136
Facsimile: (860) 570-5135
Email: registrar@law.uconn.edu