A network of individuals and organizations that includes attorneys, banking and finance experts, community activists and government specialists is working to create a Public Bank for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There is only one other public bank in the US, the 100+ year-old Bank of North Dakota, established by farmers at the turn of the 20th Century because traditional banks would not lend credit during a depression. There are campaigns in several states to create Public Banks that will be owned by the state for the purpose of providing low-interest financing to vulnerable enterprises that will serve the public good yet cannot qualify for commercial loans. The Campaign for a MA Public Bank must convince the Legislature and the Governor that the Public Bank will fill critical needs, will be operated at the highest standards and will be accountable to the public.

This internship is an opportunity for an HLS student to contribute in substantial ways to advance the possibility of creating this Public Bank. The student will work with members of the Steering Committee of the Campaign for a MA Public Bank in the following areas:

  1. Research anti-discrimination law and its impact on race-conscious remedies in this time of challenges to race-focused efforts to create equity in access to finance and other needs;
  2. Research the landscape of bank lending in Massachusetts including existence of “banking deserts” especially where consolidation of banks has removed local access and search for patterns of discriminator lending;
  3. Gather information through inquiries and interviews with banks across the state to identify their concerns about a Public Bank and the lending challenges they face;
  4. Compare aspects of legislation being prepared in other states with the MA bill with some attention to law on access to “master accounts” at the Federal Reserve and requirements of collateralization for deposits of public funds.

Interested students can review the Campaign at its website: www.masspublicbanking.org

Students should submit a resume and cover letter to Liz Solar at esolar@law.harvard.edu by 5pm on Tuesday 8/29/23 which will be sent to the Nancy Ryan for review and selection. 

Once students are selected by the Massachusetts Public Bank Campaign and in order to earn credits students will be required to submit an independent clinical (IC) application by 5pm on Thursday 8/31.   Please consult: https://hls.harvard.edu/clinics/independent-clinical/

This opportunity is NOT eligible to students on F-1 visas.

Independent Clinical does not satisfy the HLS experiential learning graduation requirement.

Prof. Desan will serve as the faculty sponsor desan@law.harvard.edu.

Independent Clinical Application Deadline: 5pm Thursday August 31, 2023.

BU Law Professor Rory Van Loo (HLS Alum) will serve as the supervising attorney.   His’s research focuses on Administrative Law, Business Organization, Consumer Law, Financial Regulation and more; he served on the implementation team that set up the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, helping to build the framework for supervision of large banks.