Pro Bono Spotlight - Neighborhood Enterpreneurship

Already providing legal assistance to low-income tax clients, a group of Legal Services’ pro bono lawyers wanted to expand their superstar roles and find ways to use their legal skills to help more clients. Forming a committee, they explored the question: What mechanism can be developed to close the justice gap while enhancing pro bono opportunities that will enable legal professionals to serve more unrepresented clients? Their answer: neighborhood entrepreneurship.

Forward and creative thinking gave rise to the development of The Business Start-Up Clinic. The Business Start-Up Clinic is designed for volunteer attorneys to give free legal advice to low to moderate income non-profit or small business owners. Business owners can receive assistance with Corporate Formation & Governance, Corporate Governance, Contract Drafting & Negotiation, Licensing & Permits, Intellectual Property, and Real Estate Lease Drafting & Negotiation.

The committee also formed the Estate Planning Initiative, designed for volunteer attorneys to give free legal advice to low-income individuals who need assistance with estate planning documents.

These new avenues to Equal Justice are incredible opportunities for transactional attorneys who desire more pro bono options within the realm of their legal skill set and Legal Services’ clients who without legal assistance would not be able to launch a business or have a will. Lawyers who seize these opportunities will play a major role in ensuring our justice system remains responsive, accessible, and innovative for all.

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