James J. Kelly Jr.

James J. Kelly Jr.

Director, Community Development Clinic
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 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. 

Kelly earned his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1987 and his J.D. from Columbia in 1994. Before going into teaching, 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. 

Kelly is the author of Drafting Organizational Documents (West 2018) and co-editor of the forthcoming 6th edition of Real Estate Transactions: Problems, Cases, and Materials (Wolters Kluwer 2022). 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, DePaul Law Review, and the Chicago-Kent Law Review. His law review articles have been cited by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, and the Supreme Court of Ohio. 

Kelly started and runs the Community Development Clinic at the Notre Dame Clinical Law Center. This 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. Kelly is a Faculty Fellow of Notre Dame's Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate.

Courses Taught

LAW70111, Real Estate Transactions

LAW70345, Land Use Planning

LAW75721, Community Development Clinic I

LAW75723, Community Development Clinic II



REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS: PROBLEMS, CASES, AND MATERIALS (6th ed., Wolters Kluwer forthcoming 2022) (co-edited with Malloy, Smith, and Boyack)

LEGAL RESPONSES TO VACANT HOUSES: AN INTERNATIONAL COMPARISON (Springer 2020) (co-authored with Kadomatsu, Melot, and Pilniok)


Book Chapters

MacIntyre and Law in LEARNING FROM MACINTYRE (Beadle, Moore, eds, Wipf and Stock, 2020)

Controlling, Acquiring, and Disposing of Vacant Properties, in VACANT AND PROBLEM PROPERTIES: A GUIDE TO LEGAL STRATEGIES AND REMEDIES (Mallach, Bacher, Williams, eds., ABA Publications, 2019)

Articles and Essays 

アメリカの市町村における空き家対策 (国際シンポジウム 空き家問題への法的対応 : 日本・アメリカ・フランス・ドイツ)  [in Japanese; translation of Municipal Responses to Vacant Properties in the United States], 24 (06-18) Gyoseiho-kenkyu [Review of Administrative Law] 67-90 (2018)

Freeing the City to Compete, 92 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 569 (2017) (symposium) 

Affirmatively Furthering Neighborhood Choice: Fair Housing and Vacant Property Neighborhood Strategies, 46 U. Mem. L. Rev. 1009 (2016) (symposium) 

Sustaining Neighborhoods of Choice: From Land Bank(ing) to Land Trust(ing), 54 Washburn L.J. 613 (2015) (symposium) 

"All Good Things Flow": Rule of Law, Public Goods, and the Divided American Metropolis, 64 Emory L. J. Online 2017 (2014) (invited response to White, Sepe, & Masconale, Urban Decay, Austerity, and the Rule of Law, 64 Emory L. J. 1 (2014)) 

Reaching Backward and Stretching Forward: Teaching for Transfer in Law School Clinic, 64 J. Legal. Educ. 258 (2014) (with Shaun Archer, James P. Eyster, Tonya Kowalski and Colleen Shanahan) 

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 Hous. & Comty. Dev. L. 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 Hous. & Comty. Dev. L. 210 (2004). 

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

Other Publications 

Ilya Somin’s The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London & The Limits of Eminent Domain, 131 Pol. Sci. Q. 885 (2016) (book review) 

ABANDONED HOUSING STRATEGIES 101 TRAINING MANUAL (Ind. Assoc. for Comm. Econ. Dev., 2016)(with Adam Gross and Betsy Lassar) 

Just Smart: Civil Rights Protections and Market-Sensitive Vacant-Property Strategies (Center for Community Progress 2014), reprinted in 23 J. Affordable Hous. & Comty. Dev. L. 209 (2015) 

Sharing the Wealth, 22 J. Affordable Hous. & Comty. Dev. L. 21 (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 Hous. & Comty. Dev. L. 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