Academic Programs

Affordable Housing Externship Program

Through the Affordable Housing Externship Program, students receive credit for an externship done in conjunction with the Affordable Housing and Community Development seminar, taught by Mr. Peter Freeman.

The solutions to the ongoing problem and challenge of providing affordable housing and sustainable community development in our nation's cities and towns will occur only through the interdisciplinary efforts of lawyers, community groups, financial institutions, architects, engineers, planners and governmental agencies (at the local, state and federal levels). The Affordable Housing Externship Program provides opportunities for students to interface directly with the players mentioned above. "Learning the law" in this field is therefore enhanced immeasurably.


Students receive 3 credits (C/NC) for performing 150 hours of fieldwork (about 12 hours per week), and 3 credits (graded) for the weekly seminar.


The externs enroll in the Affordable Housing and Community Development seminar, where they will learn about zoning laws, other planning tools and laws, government programs promoting and assisting the development of affordable housing, financing, tax incentives, smart growth policies, community organizations, and related matters.

For more information about the seminar, please click here. Students may take the seminar without enrolling in the externship component.


Field Placement

The externship component offers the opportunity for students to experience how various laws, tools and programs come together in the real world to achieve the goal - project by project and case by case - of providing affordable housing and sustainable community development. Boston has a great wealth of public and non-profit housing and community development agencies, each providing a great experience for students.

Here are some examples of possible placements:

  • Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency: work with legal staff in reviewing development applications for affordable housing projects and monitoring programs.
  • Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development: work with the General Counsel’s Office on drafting and review of transactional documents for affordable housing developments, including regulatory agreements and affordable housing restrictions; review corporate practices related to Community Service Block Grants; and work on Subsidized Housing Inventory updates.
  • Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund: work with General Counsel’s Office on program matters and transactional matters related to funding of affordable housing projects.
  • City Solicitor/Corporate Counsel or outside Town Counsel law firms: work with municipal attorneys on development litigation matters, including approvals or denials of affordable housing project applications; review and revise local zoning bylaws; and draft memoranda to municipal agencies and departments on legal matters related to housing and economic development.
  • Cambridge Housing Authority: work with General Counsel on landlord tenant matters, relocation issues, foreclosure prevention, and transactional matters related to new apartment and renovation projects.
  • The Community Builders, Inc: work with legal staff at this non-profit affordable housing development organization on project applications, funding, and land use permitting; and work on transactional closing matters.