Scenic view of houses on Pittsburgh hillside

Urban Development Practicum

The Urban Development Practicum provides a broad range of legal services related to real estate and economic development in distressed communities in the region. Students in the practicum are gaining practical experience by working on both real and simulated projects and cases.

Services provided by student attorneys include general real estate matters, title searches, negotiation and drafting of development agreements, preparation of land use cases, appellate land use practice, and attending and participating in public meetings and hearings. Some of the unique topics addresses through the work with clinic clients include conservation easements, land acquisition, zoning issues, and “greening initiatives.” 

While providing pro bono legal assistance to neighborhood and regional urban renewal organizations, student lawyers are acquiring and sharpening fundamental lawyering skills critical to addressing community needs and professional responsibilities.

Clinic News

Duquesne students assist religious order in establishing community center

In April 2016 students in the Urban Development Practicum celebrated the opening of a community building in Rankin, Pa., with the religious order for which they provided legal services. 

Law students Elizabeth Tuttle, Andrew Clifford, and Rebecca Traylor were on hand to mark the blessing of the building owned by the Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy. Court Hower, Lina Policicchio, and Emily Seelman also worked in the practicum on various legal issues to assist the religious order in establishing the community center and small convent space. Professor Joseph Sabino Mistick directed the students' work as the practicum's supervising attorney. 

Superiors from the order's locations in New York and Florida were on hand for the blessing ceremony, as were several Rankin residents and priests from throughout Pittsburgh. 

Duquesne clinical students to aid D.A.'s Office and McKeesport residents

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala announced that McKeesport officials will receive assistance from law students at Duquesne University to help track when property owners change and prosecute negligent landlords. Professor Joseph Sabino Mistick will coordinate the efforts of the Clinical Legal Education program. The announcement came about as a result of a recent fire in McKeesport, which caused the death of six people and the critical injury of another. The investigation revealed that the landlord  had failed to install smoke alarms in the property. 

Read "In McKeesport, fire deaths bring calls for rental safety," from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Duquesne law students write sustainability rules for Pittsburgh

A recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story details how the Urban Development Practicum is playing a key role in the city of Pittsburgh's move toward a greener skyline.

Read "Duquesne law students write sustainability rules for Pittsburgh."

 Young lawyers want to serve their communities

During a KDKA Radio interview, Professor Joseph Sabino Mistick discusses the new motivation for young attorneys in training. 

Read the story and listen to the interview.