University of Pittsburgh
February 10, 2009

Pitt's School of Law Hosts Economics and Legal Experts for Conference On Microfinance Feb. 13

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-In an effort to provide further insight into financial initiatives that have given more than 65 million impoverished people opportunities to garner small loans and build assets, the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law, "Journal of Law and Commerce," and Law and Entrepreneurship Program will present the conference Microfinance and the Law Feb. 13, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Pitt's Barco Law Building, 3900 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

The conference will focus on the various issues surrounding microfinancing, the practice of providing a broad range of financial services such as deposits, loans, payment services, money transfers, and insurance to poor and low-income households and their microenterprises. Experts in the fields of economics and law will discuss the mechanics of the practice as well as expanding the future uses and possibilities of microfinancing.

Highlighting the events will be a keynote address by Jonathan Morduch, a professor of public policy and economics at New York University's (NYU) Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Morduch is the managing director of the Financial Access Initiative, a consortium of researchers at NYU, Harvard University, Yale University, and Innovations for Poverty Action that are focused on expanding access to quality financial services for low income individuals. He is a coauthor of "The Economics of Microfinance" (MIT Press, 2005) as well as the forthcoming "Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day" (Princeton University Press, 2009). In addition, Morduch chairs the U.N. Steering Committee on Poverty Statistics and is a member of the U.N. Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors.

The conference also will feature such notable figures as Elgin Clemons Jr., an attorney with Wright, Lindsey, & Jennings LLP; Deborah Burand, director of the International Transactions Clinic and a clinical assistant professor in the University of Michigan's School of Law; Charlotte E. Lott, associate professor of economics at Chatham University; Melanie Howard, director of the Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law and an assistant professor of law at Pepperdine University; and April Rinne, director of microfinance and venture development with Unitus, a nonprofit capital investor for the microfinance industry.

The course has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for four hours of substantive CLE credit. The conference is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Daniel Etlinger at