Five Questions

October 13, 2008Duke Law News

1. What are you working on right now?
My primary focus now, as is the case during any semester, is teaching my clinical course, the Community Enterprise Clinic, as well as working with my clinical colleagues to continue to develop Duke Law School’s clinical program so that it is the best in the country.

In the Community Enterprise Clinic, students and I are currently handling about thirty transactional matters that cover a wide range of substantive issues — from the sale of a subsidiary business to an inner-city commercial real estate development project to several general nonprofit corporate matters. Clinical teaching is both very demanding and very rewarding — I can’t imagine a better thing to do!

My specific area of teaching and scholarly interest is affordable housing and community development, so the current economic crisis is of particular interest to me and the clients and communities with whom I, and my clinic students, work. As a result, I am spending a lot of time helping nonprofit organizations around the state understand the new federal programs that are being initiated to help communities deal with foreclosures and other problems in the housing market.

Looking forward, I expect to spend a lot of time working with non-profit development and finance organizations to develop and promote public policies that will help to ensure that poor communities and communities of color have access to the credit and other capital resources that they will need to recover from the devastation caused, in large part, by unregulated predatory lending over the past several years.

Finally, I am in the final stages of editing an upcoming edition of the Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law. This issue focuses on the 40th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act and should provide an interesting range of perspectives on the efficacy and importance of this landmark civil rights law.

2. What are your interests or passions outside your scholarly work and teaching?
My wife and I have four daughters, ages 12, 9, 8, and 5. I am very lucky to be able to spend most of the time that I am not at the Law School with my family. This fall my two oldest are both on traveling teams for soccer, so as other soccer parents know, this means that most of my free time is spent in the car driving to tournaments!

Additionally, I am a political news junkie and avid college athletics fan.

3. If you could sit in on one professor's class, which professor would you choose, which class, and why?
In a perfect world, I’d love to take a year to do nothing but audit classes taught by my colleagues at Duke Law School. We have so many great teachers and interesting classes, that it is very hard to pick just one. Given the current global circumstances, however, I have to choose Professor Bill Brown’s seminar on the Subprime & Credit Crises. It is so timely and, I am sure, would help to substantially inform my own work in the area.

4. What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading Hot, Flat and Crowded by Tom Friedman and The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. I am also reading The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame to my children. Usually, I have a good mystery going as well, but haven’t found one recently that kept my attention.

5. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise your colleagues and students.
Prior to teaching at Duke Law School, my favorite job was working as the “fishmonger” at Wellspring (now Whole Foods) in Chapel Hill. I didn’t always smell good, but it was great fun!
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