Creating opportunities through the Community Enterprise Project

[Published March 29, 2016 on the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs Blog]

By Lauren Maynard, J.D. ’16 

Lauren Maynard, J.D. '16

Lauren Maynard, J.D. ’16

I came to law school with a weak vision of what I wanted to do. Just like everyone else, I wanted to affect positive change in the world. The problem was, and to an extent continues to be, that I am not sure how to do that. In an effort to find an answer, I have taken a variety of public interest oriented classes and clinics. I learned a lot and did some important work in those, but nothing quite fit the bill. Now, through my work with the Community Enterprise Project (CEP) of the Transactional Law Clinics, I feel like I have found a starting point.

My goal in life is to help create opportunity for those who do not have a chance. I grew up in a region burdened with three major problems: low educational attainment, poverty, and high rates of drug abuse. I could focus my work on any of the three, but I thought the ideal solution is one that addresses them all. I believe this is possible through economic development; we can build a thriving economy that encourages educational attainment and curbs drug abuse.

CEP has provided me with a forum for thinking creatively about community development. For example, this semester we are hosting presentations to help worker cooperatives navigate their unique legal landscape. Local cooperatives are doing great work in their communities, and a growing number of entrepreneurs are looking to this model. It is exciting to see community members empowered to strengthen their economies from the ground up, and I’m glad that, through my work with CEP, I can help make the legal regulations more accessible to them. I am grateful that I got to work in this clinic, and that I finally found a basis on which to build my future career.