James Kelly

Clinical Professor of Law

Office: 1113 Eck Hall of Law
Phone: 574.631.7795
Fax: 574.631.6725
Email: J.Kelly@nd.edu
CV: View
SSRN: View

Jim Kelly is Clinical Professor of Law at the Notre Dame Law School, where he teaches, researches and practices community development law. Prior to joining the law school faculty in 2011, Jim was Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law and Visiting Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law. At Baltimore, Jim directed and taught in the Community Development Clinic, while also teaching Professional Responsibility, Jurisprudence and Real Estate Finance. In Spring 2011, he taught Property and Legal Writing II at W&L.

Prof. Kelly earned his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1987 and his J.D. from Columbia in 1994. Before going into teaching, Professor Kelly worked, as Executive Director of Save A Neighborhood, Inc. and Legal Consultant for Baltimore’s Project 5000, to assist the city government and community groups in acquiring clear title to vacant houses and vacant lots. He previously worked as a Staff Attorney for the Community Law Center, serving Baltimore nonprofits in their community revitalization efforts. From 1994 to 1999, he represented and counseled tenants and tenant groups for the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corp., where his work was funded by the Skadden Fellowship Foundation.

Prof. Kelly has published several law review articles on community control of land resources through title-clearing litigation and community land trusts. His scholarship has appeared in the Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law, St. John’s Law Review, University of Cincinnati Law Review, Saint Louis University Public Law Review and DePaul Law Review. His law review articles have been cited by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Prof. Kelly started and runs the Community Development Clinic at the Notre Dame Clinical Law Center. This new NDLS clinic provides students with supervised legal practice experience representing nonprofits and small businesses in transactional matters, including corporate formation, tax exemption, risk management planning, regulatory compliance, and real estate transfers.

Courses Taught

LAW 70111, Real Estate Transactions
LAW70345, Land Use Planning
LAW75721, Community Development Clinic


Articles and Essays

A Continuum In Remedies: Reconnecting Abandoned Houses to the Market, 33 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 109 (2013) (symposium).

Maryland'€™s Affordable Housing Land Trusts Act, 19 J. Affordable Housing & Community Dev. 345 (2010)

Land Trusts that Conserve Communities, 59 DePaul L. Rev. 69 (2009).

Homes Affordable for Good: Ground Leases and Covenants as Long-Term Resale-Restriction Devices, 29 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 9 (2009) (symposium).

Bringing Clarity to Title Clearing: Tax Foreclosure and Due Process in the Digital Age, 77 U. Cin. L. Rev. 63 (2008).

"We Shall Not Be Moved": Urban Communities, Eminent Domain and the Socioeconomics of Just Compensation, 80 St. John's L. Rev 923 (2006).

Refreshing the Heart of the City: Vacant Building Receivership as a Tool for Neighborhood Revitalization and Community Improvement, 13 J. Affordable Housing & Community Dev. 210 (2004).

Article 27 and Mexican Land Reform: The Legacy of Zapata's Dream, 25 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 541 (1994)

Other Publications

Sharing the Wealth, 22 J. Affordable Housing and Community Dev. L. (forthcoming 2013) (book review)

Vacant & Abandoned Properties Task Force Report, February 2013, (with City of South Bend Staff)

An Assist from the State to Tackle Vacant Houses, South Bend Tribune, Dec. 26, 2012 (with Mayor Pete Buttigieg)

Inclusionary Housing on a Global Basis, 20 J. Affordable Housing and Community Dev. 259 (2012) (book review)

Taming Eminent Domain, Shelterforce (Spring 2008)

Project 5000: Assembling Insurable Title through Tax Foreclosure, Ground Notes (MSBA Newsletter, January 2003)

Project 5000 Tax Sale Foreclosure Legal Manual (2002)

Areas of Expertise

  • Community Development
  • Community Land Trusts
  • Land Banking
  • Land Use Planning & Regulation
  • Tax Foreclosure
  • Vacant and Abandoned Properties

In the News

'1,000 properties in 1,000 days' Rehabbing part of mayor's report on vacant housing. (Quotes: James Kelly) South Bend Tribune, February 28, 2013

An assist from the state to tackle vacant houses (By: Pete Buttigieg and James Kelly)South Bend Tribune, December 26, 2012

Professor James Kelly Joins South Bend Mayor to Tackle Vacant & Abandoned Properties NDLS News, February 28, 2012

Mayor appoints task force to tackle vacant housing – South Bend Tribune, February 27, 2012