X

blight class

NEIGHBORHOOD PRESERVATION CLINIC

The University of Memphis Neighborhood Preservation Clinic represents the City of Memphis in public nuisance lawsuits seeking recourse against the owners of badly neglected, vacant and abandoned properties. Under the supervision of clinic co-directors Danny Schaffzin and Steve Barlow, and in collaboration with Neighborhood Preservation Staff Attorney Brigid Welsh, clinic students investigate property ownership and conditions; communicate with field code enforcement professionals; and research, prepare and file civil cases alleging claims arising under the Tennessee Neighborhood Preservation Act (NPA), T.C.A §13-6-101 et seq.

Once litigation is commenced, clinic students handle all aspects of those cases as they proceed in the Shelby County Environmental Court, a unique court of special jurisdiction concurrent with the Tennessee Circuit and Chancery Courts for certain purposes. Student case handling responsibilities include weekly appearances in the Environmental Court, during which students present at hearings and status updates, negotiate with opposing counsel and parties, and do all else that is necessary to move their cases forward. As their cases evolve, students grapple with issues of civil procedure, contracts, evidence, property, secured transactions, decedents estates, business organizations, and bankruptcy.

To complement their casework, clinic students participate in a weekly classroom session focused on the pervasive challenge of property vacancy and abandonment in Memphis. The seminar segment of the weekly class exposes the law students to substantive code enforcement and housing law, national models of legal strategies to address problem properties, practice and procedure in the Shelby County Environmental Court, and the issues of ethics and professionalism that arise in the context of their cases. The seminar also includes a case rounds component, during which students engage in an ongoing dialogue about the challenges they are experiencing while managing clinic's cases.

To apply to the Neighborhood Preservation Clinic, click HERE.

Faculty/Staff:

danny
Associate Professor of Law
Director of Experiential Learning
dschffzn@memphis.edu 
barlow
Steve Barlow
Adjunct Professor of Law
brigid
Brigid Welsh
Neighborhood Preservation Staff Attorney
bwright
Britney Wright
Neighborhood Preservation Clinical Legal Assistant

News:

ANTI-BLIGHT PARTNERSHIP PROFILED BY WREG-3 NEWS
WREG News Channel 3 talked with Brittany Williams, our Neighborhood Preservation Fellow, and Patrick Dandridge, Deputy Director of the Memphis Code Enforcement about the impact of the Clinic on Memphis. Click here to view the piece.

LAW STUDENTS DEAL WITH BLIGHT ISSUES
WREG News Channel 3 featured a story about Memphis law students' work on problem properties in the City and interviewed Professor Daniel Schaffzin to talk about how law students are uniquely able to address abandoned and vacant properties. Click here for more information.

MEMPHIS FLYER COVERS CLINIC AND CITY PARTNERSHIP
The Memphis Flyer covered former Mayor A C Wharton's announcement of the new Neighborhood Preservation partnership with Memphis.

THE AMERICAN PROSPECT MAGAZINE FEATURES NPC CLINIC WORK
The American Prospect, a magazine focused on progressive perspectives on public policy, featured the Neighborhood Preservation Clinic in 2017 and wrote about the Memphis community's engagement with the Clinic.

NPR - A LAW STUDENT, A BLIGHTED BUILDING, AND A LONG LEGAL PROCESS
NPR talks to Jordan Emily, a Memphis alum, and Professor Daniel Schaffzin about the legal challenges presented by fighting blighted properties. Jordan shares about her case work on a large apartment complex in the City.

UofM LAW STUDENTS TACKLE BLIGHT IN MEMPHIS - WREG NEWS CH3
WREG News Channel 3 cover a Neighborhood Preservation milestone: over 1,000 suits to fix public nuisance properties.

MEMPHIS FIGHTS BLIGHT - STL FEDERAL RESERVE PUBLICATION
Professor Barlow authored an article to discuss the inaugural Blight Elimination Summit and to review data from the Neighborhood Preservation Clinic.

HIGH GROUND NEWS FEATURES BLIGHT CLINIC WORK
High Ground, a hyper-local Memphis publication, covered the process of Neighborhood Preservation and discussed the value of the program in creating a better Memphis community.

CITY TEARS DOWN BLIGHTED APARTMENTS - COMMERCIAL APPEAL ARTICLE
Commercial Appeal covers the demolitions and other large-scale results obtained by the Neighborhood Preservation Clinic.