Debra Bechtel

Associate Professor of Clinical Law

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 780-0342 |  Email
Areas of Expertise

Corporate Law
Real Estate Law
Community Development

B.A., University of Washington
J.D., George Washington University National Law Center

Clinic - Advanced Corporate Real Estate

Students in the advanced corporate and real estate clinic will represent low income co-op boards and research issues of particular interest to those boards in order to prepare memos and/or conduct training sessions for them. In certain semesters there may be opportunities to: 1) serve on committees of lawyers and/or community activists; 2) draft legislation; 3) create model documents for clients involved in projects new to the clinic; 4) make presentations to students in their first semester of the clinic; and 5) handle particularly complex loan closings.

Enrollment Notes:

No seminar component will be required. Only students selected by the Professor may enroll.

Clinic - Corporate and Real Estate

This transactional clinic offers students the unique experience of representing low-income cooperative boards of directors as "house counsel". Buildings range in size from six units to fifty units and are located in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan. A few client matters also involve not-for-profit corporations and initial cooperative conversions. Students work primarily on loan closings, co-op unit closings, shareholder meetings and by-law and proprietary lease amendments. Some students are also involved in devising model policies and seminars for the benefit of all clients. All of the projects require preparation of comprehensive but concise documents and creative application of corporate statutes and techniques in order to meet clients' goals. Examples of specific student tasks on behalf of a co-op include: a) reviewing title reports and loan documents, b) preparing corporate resolutions, c) handling closings and preparing closing statements, d) negotiating contracts of sale, e) issuing share certificates and f) drafting amendments to corporate documents. Recommended courses are corporations, real estate practice and law of cooperatives and condominiums Seminar Credits: 2.00 Seminar: The clinic includes a 2-credit seminar with weekly discussion of the applicable substantive laws as well as drafting exercises, simulations, client presentations and occasional guest speakers.

Enrollment Notes:

The clinic enrolls students each semester.

Clinic - Real Estate and Community Development Externship

This externship is specifically designed for the transactional and community development field combining 12-14 hours a week of work in a government, law firm, developer or not-for-profit placement with a one credit seminar. The seminar includes guest lectures and exercises which introduce transactional skills and development strategies as well as reflections on learning from work experience and periodic reports from students about their placements. Professor Bechtel assists with most placements, but students who find their own externships in the field may also register with permission. Placements include: The New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York State Housing Finance Agency, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York City Department of Design and Construction, Housing Conservation Coordinators, the New York Housing Partnership Development Corp., the Enterprise Foundation, GFI Capital, occasional other developers and agencies and several law firms. Students accepted into the New York State Bar Association Real Property Section's internship program are also placed in this externship. Seminar Credits: 1.00 Seminar: There is a 1-credit seminar taught in conjunction with the clinic. The seminar combines discussion of substantive real estate law topics, practice with transactional skills such as drafting and reflection on learning from work experience with periodic updates from students about their projects.

Enrollment Notes:

Fall semester only.

Clinic - Real Estate/Community Development Practicum

The practicum provides an opportunity for students who have already completed a relevant placement in the Civil Practice Externship or students who have completed the Transactional/Community Development Externship to undertake another placement for 12 hours a week without a seminar. Students submit journals to the Professor and meet with her three times during the semester as a group to reflect on learning through work experience and brainstorm about common issues. Many of the same placements listed for the transactional/community development externship are available.