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Examples of Our Work

Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture

The CEC's work supports several organizations involved in food security and food justice, and working toward sustainable food systems that are ecologically sound. This work has included:

  • Formation and structuring of a food cooperative.
  • Representing an organization in land acquisition, financing, and development of food cooperative and community space.
  • Negotiating a license agreement with the City of Detroit to allow an organization to turn underutilized city-owned land into an urban farm.
  • Forming an organization that will run an urban farmer's market using locally grown food.   
  • Advising an established organization on corporate governance issues, including revising its bylaws and employment issues.  
  • Developing liability releases and policies for volunteers who work on an urban farm.
  • Advising regarding and structuring a for-profit subsidiary.
  • Obtaining trade and service marks to protect an organization's mark.


The CEC represents organizations working with youth. This work includes:

  • Structuring an organization working on youth cooperative economic development.
  • Advising an organization regarding youth compensation issues.
  • Advising an organization regarding copyright and trademark issues related to products it produces.


The CEC provides cutting-edge legal services to enterprises at the forefront of the emerging social and sharing economy, including:

  • Conversion of an organization rooted in gender justice principles into a cooperative.
  • Formation of a cooperative for residents of an underserved urban area to manage solar power.
  • Advising an organization regarding copyright issues and negotiating a trademark licensing agreement.
  • Negotiating a commercial lease for an organization community to workplace justice that provides job training through its social enterprise.
  • Representing an organization to exempt equipment from taxation.


The CEC represents several organizations that promote arts and media in pursuit of more creative and socially just communities. The CEC's work for such organizations included:

  • Drafting fiscal sponsor agreements for an organization that cultivates media strategies, operates local programming, and innovates education, economic development, and community organizing practices around issues of technology access, participation, common ownership, and healthy communities.
  • Filing a trademark application and negotiating a use agreement for an organization working on media education.
  • Negotiating a trademark license agreement in an attempt to prevent documented actual confusion.

The CEC works to provide comprehensive services to its clients by partnering with others in the University of Michigan. An example of this work includes:

Sustainability and the HOPE Village Initiative Integrated Assessment. In partnership with the Graham Institute for Sustainability, the CEC provided legal services to assist Focus: HOPE with various aspects of the HOPE Village Initiative. We explored options for expanding housing opportunities to help stabilize the community. Our efforts around an abandoned railroad bed transecting the neighborhood helped Focus: HOPE become a key partner on the 26-mile Inner Circle Greenway project. The CEC's work was part of six research teams from different disciplines across the University of Michigan who provided a wide range of data, plans, and recommendations to Focus: HOPE to support day-to-day activities and decision-making for the Hope Village Initiative.

Read the final report here.  Find out more about the Hope Village Initiative here.