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Amy Laura Cahn L’09 has an unusual specialty: community gardens & urban farms

April 12, 2012

Amy Laura Cahn L’09, who was 2010 Skadden Fellow at the Garden Justice Legal Initiative, discusses her work in the Penn Law video below and a was profiled by the Philadelphia Inquirer for her initiatives within the community. 




My name is Amy Laura Cahn. I graduated in the class of 2009. I currently work at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. I have a Skadden fellowship to run the Garden Justice Legal Initiative. I provide legal support for community gardens and urban farms, folks working in disinvested neighborhoods to reclaim land from blight to address land and food sovereignty in their neighborhoods.

I came to law school thinking I was looking at purely skills based training and I definitely think I got that through my clinical experiences. So, working with the Transnational Clinic, working with externships at Equality Advocates, and at the Delaware River Keeper. But I was also challenged in some unexpected ways that I really value. One of those would be some real training in ethics and practice, particularly in public interest lawyering and in specifically community based lawyering. So, through Lawyering in the Public Interest with Lou Rulli and Cathy Carr, and through my work with the Transnational Clinic, I really feel like I was challenged on those ethical issues to really think through what it really means not just to represent individuals, but also communities.

I think the other think that I would like to really add is that I thought, you know, skills based training this is a professional school, and I was really engaged with the law and intellectually with issues in a way that I really had not expected. So, taking Civil Procedure with Professor Burbank, or Indian Law and Federal Courts with Professor Struve, and of course Constitutional Litigation with Professor Kreimer. I was suddenly intellectually engaged and really engaged in kind of legal academia in ways that I really never thought that I would be, which led in part me doing two clerkships prior to doing the fellowship. 

Transcript edited for length