Update on Organizations and Transactions Clinic Student Work

In keeping with the tradition of reporting the work of clinic students from last year, I’m pleased to give an account of the wonderful work of those in the Organizations and Transactions Clinic (O&T).  O&T continued its extensive work with Northern California nonprofits involved in sustainable agriculture and food system reform, with projects including revising market rules for a major operator of farmers’ markets, assisting with a land purchase and conservation easement, advising about a possible spin-off of a food distribution program to a separate subsidiary, preparing template documents for community gardening programs, developing contracts for a food bank, and providing corporate advice and contract, volunteer program and other documents to a number of such organizations.  O&T students also executed governance, real estate and contract projects for nonprofits providing counseling, housing and home repair services to low-income families, health care and other services to homeless individuals, and mental health and other services to children, and worked with charter school, community development, community services, legal services and other organizations on a variety of matters.  Students regularly interacted with CEOs and delivered briefings to client boards of directors in the course of their work.

The varied and high-quality work of O&T students continues into the current academic year as reflected below in a review of student work from the Fall 2010 quarter:

Esther Cheng (‘11) and Brian Murdock (‘12) worked closely with the legal team of one of the country’s largest philanthropic organizations to revise its conflict of interest policy and code of conduct.  The team also prepared governance documents for and briefed the board of directors of a rural affordable housing nonprofit, drafted a joint fundraising agreement for a national organization dedicated to advancing justice and democracy, and prepared client engagement and co-counsel agreement templates for a Santa Cruz County nonprofit that provides free legal services to low-income individuals and families.

Justin Gonzales (‘12) and Richard Robinson (‘11) designed and drafted a template alliance/joint venture agreement for a national charter school organization, provided governance advice and developed program contracts for a San Benito County youth services organization, performed a comprehensive governance review for a Bay Area conservation nonprofit, and provided advice about an intellectual property matter to an East Bay urban agriculture organization.  These engagements included two presentations to boards and regular interactions with client CEOs and a client general counsel.

Stephenie Gosnell Handler (‘11) and Ryan Stouffer (‘11) provided advice and prepared an extensive set of governance documents for a Bay Area nonprofit focused on child abuse prevention.  The team worked closely with the CEO and an external management consultant in executing the project and briefing a board committee about the work.  Ryan also prepared materials for a meeting of the board of a large Bay Area charter school operator.

Justin Gonzales (‘12) and Ryan Stouffer (’11) drafted a suite of documents for one of O&T’s many clients active in sustainable agriculture, a rural nonprofit focused on the relationships among agriculture, conservation and the environment. The documents included facility use, consulting, program and volunteer agreements.  The team also collaborated with Richard Robinson (‘11) in researching and preparing a complex technical services agreement for a Bay Area immigration rights organization.

Stephenie Gosnell Handler (‘11) joined with a colleague in executing governance reviews for a large health care clinic in Santa Cruz County and a multi-site mental health care services organization, worked closely with a South Bay community services organization in designing and drafting a set of contract and management documents for a transitional housing and rehabilitation program, and prepared service and volunteer contracts for a leading Bay Area food bank.  The team regularly met with board members, CEOs and CFOs, and visited program sites, in the course of the work.

O&T is led by Jay A. Mitchell, Associate Professor and Clinic Director, Eva M. Gutierrez, the Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe Clinical Teaching Fellow, and Octavio Gonzalez, Paralegal.