Clinic Alumnus Spearheads pro bono Partnership with BU Law Students

06.29.10

Kurt James ('85)
Kurt James ('85)

We are excited to announce a new partnership between BU Law and the Lawyers Clearinghouse.  Through the partnership, participating students will work with Lawyers Clearinghouse attorneys on pro bono cases related to affordable housing and other nonprofit transactions.  For students interested in community development work and transactional law, the partnership is a fantastic opportunity.

The Lawyers Clearinghouse is a nonprofit organization that promotes affordable housing development, reduces homelessness, and strengthens communities.  The Clearinghouse operates by matching volunteer lawyers from the Massachusetts legal community to nonprofit organizations and guests of area homeless shelters.   Through the partnership with BU Law, students will work on cases with volunteer attorneys interested in student help. 

Students will work on a range of projects such as drafting documents relating to housing transactions and starting nonprofits.  Students will also learn how to interact with clients, set up timelines to do transactions, and a host of other work.  The hours that students work will count towards BU Law's voluntary pro bono program, where students may pledge to perform a minimum of thirty-five hours during their tenure in law school.

Spearheading the partnership is the President of the Lawyers Clearinghouse, BU Law alumnus Kurt A. James ('85).  Mr. James works in the Boston offices of Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster, P.C., where he is Chairman of the firm's Affordable Housing and Community Development Practice Group.  "I participated in the Civil Litigation Program while I was a student at BU Law," said Mr. James.  "I still remember how amazing it felt the first time I helped a client and saw how my legal training could positively change a life."

Mr. James never forgot his clinical experience, and from early in his career desired to connect his passion for community development into his real estate practice.  Now, his practice includes 80% work for nonprofits.  Mr. James also participates on the board of several nonprofits and the Real Estate Bar Association through which he organizes monthly education programs, and he is a member of several town committees.

"Based on my experience," said Mr. James, "it is very important for students to start as early as possible making contributions to the pro bono community and bar related organizations.  Such connections will help students develop a fulfilling practice that extends outside of the office."

BU Law is excited to help students start building connections in the community development field. "This partnership allows students to learn about transactional legal work and to receive mentorship from attorneys actively engaged in pro bono legal work," said Sabrina Halloran, Associate Director of BU Law's Career Development Office.  "I look forward to seeing how the partnership will help shape students' careers and help build communities."