The Harrison Institute is one of the longest-running clinical programs in the nation. Beginning as the Project for Community Legal Assistance in 1972, the Institute was renamed in 1980 to honor the life of Anne Blaine Harrison, who supported the program with her ideas and leadership. Jason Newman was the Institute's founder and director until 2004 when he retired. Jason continues to participate as an adjunct professor.
Over the years, the Harrison Institute has been an incubator for clinical programs that respond to local and national needs. The following chart shows the evolution of programs that have led to the current structure of two clinics, one focusing on policy, and the other on housing and community development.
Clinical Programs within the Harrison Institute
- Legal assistance to nonprofit organizations.
- Administrative advocacy – developmental disability rights, special education entitlements, rent control, land use, historic preservation, support to ANCs.
- DC legislation – Drafting and research for DC Council committees. Legislation included the DC Housing Finance Agency, the DC Freedom of Information Act, utility consumer rights, probate reform and tax reform.
- DC housing legislation – Drafted successful legislation for the citywide housing coalition: tenant rights to purchase, condo/coop conversion and sale, rent control, housing code enforcement, eviction control.
- Multifamily housing advocacy – Represented tenant associations under laws for rent control, housing code enforcement, coop and condo conversion.
- Montgomery County legislation – Staffed the Office of Legislative Counsel. Drafted legislation on urban districts, pesticide regulation, land developer fees, pension reform, and a multiyear code revision project.
- Housing & community development – Focus of housing work on tenant purchase. Addition of entrepreneurial training and expansion of tenant ownership to other cities under HUD contract.
- Agency counsel – Legal staff support to the DC Statehood Commission and Taxicab Commission.
- State legislation – Drafting model legislation for the Center for Policy Alternatives including community banking, child care financing, family and medical leave, environmental justice, microenterprise, rural development, community health services.
- Housing & community development – Focus on multifamily purchase, financing, rehabilitation and entrepreneurial training.
- Policy – Focus on zoning (completed), health policy and the impact of trade policy on state governments.