About Us

Who We Are

Ben Beach is the Director of the CBLC. He counsels organizations and municipalities on a variety of matters, including negotiating and drafting community benefits agreements, law and policy addressing job quality and access, green jobs, waste and recycling, land use, and redevelopment.

Ben has published law review and journal articles on community economic development, community benefits agreements and job quality and access in the construction sector. He has also taught the community economic development seminar at UCLA School of Law and spoken about community benefits and community economic development to law schools, foundations and local governments.

Ben began his legal work in community economic development as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and then Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. He earned his A.B. from Bowdoin College in 1997 and received his J.D. in 2002 from New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar. Upon graduation, he clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Berle M. Schiller in Philadelphia, PA.

Miya Saika Chen is the Staff Attorney for the CBLC. She provides legal assistance to grassroots organizations and coalitions across the country to help them increase the economic power of low income communities of color and women. Previously, she was Economic Justice Staff Attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she counseled low income individuals starting businesses and advised coalitions of faith and community groups to combat the displacement of immigrant-owned mom and pop shops.

She previously worked at the plaintiffs' law firm, Justice First, LLP, handling criminal defense appeals for indigent youth and constitutional violations in prisoners’ litigation. Miya worked in the federal government on increasing underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander access to programs and began her career at the Service Employees International Union, providing research support for service worker organizing campaigns throughout Northern CA. She earned her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law.