Pace Food and Farm Business Law Clinic to Expand with Funding from New York State

August 29, 2022
Food and Farm Business Law Clinic faculty, students at a farm

The newly named Food and Farm Business Law Clinic at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University announced that it will expand its legal services with $225,000 in funding included for the clinic in the New York State budget. The funding will support the hire of a Program Coordinator, who will join the pro bono clinic this fall, and provide other sustaining support for the clinic. The new name of the Food and Farm Business Law Clinic, formerly known as the Food and Beverage Law Clinic, reflects its broad work with clients from across New York State, including small farm businesses, artisan food manufacturers, craft beverage entrepreneurs, and related nonprofit organizations, while also emphasizing its focus on providing direct transactional business law experience to law students.

“As participants in the food and farm industry become increasingly innovative, the need for legal services continues to increase,” said Haub Law Dean Horace E. Anderson Jr. “The Clinic has grown and adapted to changing needs while providing rewarding real-world experiences for our students, positioning them for career success, and putting Haub Law at the forefront of an essential, evolving field of law.”

Launched in 2017 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in response to a need for transactional legal services expressed by food and beverage clients, the first-of-its-kind Clinic has grown to serve over one hundred clients. "The Clinic fills a critical need in New York by providing free legal help to farmers, community groups, and food advocates seeking to strengthen and transform our regional food system into one that is more sustainable, healthy and equitable,” said Mark Izeman, Senior Attorney and Strategist for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in New York. “The Clinic is a legal model that can be replicated around the country. We are proud to partner with the Elisabeth Haub School of Law in growing the Clinic and the emerging area of food law.”

Under the supervision of faculty and a staff attorney, students in the Clinic represent small farm businesses, artisan food manufacturers, craft beverage entrepreneurs, and related nonprofit organizations on transactional legal matters including new business formation and legal structure, nonprofit law, negotiation of leases and other contracts, trademarks, and regulatory matters relating to land use, food safety, employment, and more. By providing pro bono legal representation to its clients, the Clinic seeks to facilitate the development of a more just and sustainable regional food system and economy. At the same time, by teaching fundamental lawyering skills and professionalism through hands-on legal work and client interaction, the Clinic seeks to transform law students into practice-ready professionals. 

The Clinic is the keystone program of the Pace Food Law Center, which seeks to expand students’ food law educational opportunities through coursework, externship placements, career counseling, and research opportunities. The Center also supports the academic work of the six full time Pace Law faculty engaged in cutting edge food and agriculture related scholarship.

“Small farms and food businesses operate in a complex legal and regulatory space and many face economic challenges,” Director of the Food and Farm Business Law Clinic Jonathan Brown said. “Access to pro bono legal support for those who need it can go a long way in helping these businesses get off the ground, survive challenges, and thrive, which in turn helps to build a stronger and more equitable regional food system. We are incredibly thankful to Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Senate and Assembly for recognizing the need in this area and supporting the work we do.”

The funding included in the New York State budget will provide sustaining support for the Clinic and support the hire of the newly created position of Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator will enable the Clinic to reach and provide services to more clients, provide more effective services, and make more referrals to other service providers. 

Original philanthropic support for the Clinic was provided by the Sands Family Foundation and Constellation Brands which donated $400,000 in 2016 to launch the Clinic. In 2020, the Sands Family Foundation and Constellation Brands committed another $600,000 in matching grants over five years to complement funding from other sources. Haub Law Alumnus Rob Sands ’84 is executive chair and former CEO of Constellation Brands and Chairman of the Pace University Board of Trustees.

Additional sources of support for the Clinic have included the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the New York State Health Foundation, and American Farmland Trust, as well as an anonymous philanthropic gift in 2021 that enabled the Clinic to expand its impact by hiring Staff Attorney Jack Hornickel.

About the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University offers JD and Masters of Law degrees in both Environmental and International Law, as well as a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The school, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, NY, opened its doors in 1976 and has more than 9,000 alumni around the world. The school maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory. Haub Law launched its Environmental Law Program in 1978, and it has long been ranked among the world’s leading university programs, with a current #1 ranking by U.S. News & World Report. 

The Pace Food Law Center at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law works to provide direct legal services to food revolutionaries, build the capacity of the legal community to work on food system issues, and advance transformative, systemic policy change. Its Food and Farm Business Law Clinic is the first in the country entirely dedicated to providing direct, transactional legal services to food and beverage clients. With faculty supervision, law students in the Clinic represent farmers, food and beverage entrepreneurs, and related non-profit organizations seeking to improve our food system.

For more information about Haub Law, visit

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