Bechtel Debra Photo

Debra Bechtel

Associate Professor of Clinical Law
(718) 780-0342
J.D., George Washington University National Law Center
B.A., University of Washington
Areas of Expertise
Community Development
Real Estate Law


Debra Bechtel is one of New York City’s foremost legal experts in low-income cooperatives. She has been teaching at Brooklyn Law School since 1997, when she founded the Corporate and Real Estate Clinic. The Clinic provides representation for these low-income co-ops and each semester enrolls approximately six to ten students. Dozens of low-income cooperatives in three Boroughs have been preserved in part because of the students’ assistance with loan closings, real estate tax arrears, shareholder meetings and other challenges. She also developed a real estate externship program, and currently teaches the Real Estate and Community Development externship seminar. In 2014, she was appointed as Deputy Director of the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE), which trains students to represent entrepreneurs and involves them, along with faculty, in housing and economic development policy issues. Prior to teaching, Professor Bechtel was the Director of the Community Development Legal Assistance Center, a project of what is now Lawyer’s Alliance for New York, and she was a staff attorney with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. Professor Bechtel has been active in the New York State Bar Association’s Real Property Section, serving on the Executive Committee for the past two years and as the Co-Chair of the Legislation Committee and the Student Affairs Committee. She has published:

New York City Low-Income Cooperatives: A Guide for Practitioners, 48 New York Real Property Law Journal, Spring-Summer 2020 at 17

“Forming Entities to Negotiate Community Benefits Agreements” in the Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law