Community Economic Development

It costs more to live in California than a minimum wage job will pay; thus, self-employment is often the only viable alternative to low-wage jobs, unemployment, and dependence on public assistance.  Studies show training individuals to start their own businesses may be more effective at alleviating poverty than job training programs.  Studies further show that the majority of profits made by local businesses remain in the local communities, while the majority of profits made by national companies move elsewhere.  LSE assists entrepreneurs to develop sustainable businesses that invest back into the community, create local jobs, and provide goods and services to local residents.

Equal Opportunity in Contracting

With access to federal contracts at stake for minority and women-owned businesses, the Lawyers’ Committee scored a major victory for civil rights in the case of Associated General Contractors, San Diego Chapter v. Caltrans. In April 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the California Department of Transportation’s outreach program to promote fairness and equity in its federal contracting, securing a major legal victory in favor of disadvantaged business programs to ensure equal contracting opportunities for minority-owned businesses. The group challenging Caltrans’ program decided not to seek review in the United States Supreme Court, rendering the appellate decision final.

Case Documents for Associated General Contractors, San Diego Chapter V. Caltrans

High Speed Rail

In a case challenging California’s High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) to open up its closed contracting system that excluded small minority-owned businesses, we successfully petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in September 2011 to order reforms in CHSRA’s contracting practices in a manner that ensures fair and equitable contracting opportunities for all in what is the largest public works project in the nation.

If you are minority business owner concerned about contracting equity, please contact Sushil Jacob at Please note that we generally do not handle individual cases, but focus instead on class actions or other matters seeking systemic reform. For more information, check out our Community Empowerment Economic Justice page.