Free Small Business Legal Clinic Held in Honor of Women’s History Month
by Faith Alexander March 29, 2017
As we reflect on the work of brave and enterprising women this March, empowering today’s women to continue this legacy cannot be too far from view. Those whose contribution to history will be through entrepreneurship require counsel to ensure that their businesses are built on sound legal footing. With this in sight, the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP) organized a free small business legal clinic in honor of Women’s History Month in order for women entrepreneurs to receive brief, personalized legal advice. Held on March 22, 2017, the clinic was conducted in partnership with Blank Rome LLP, who graciously hosted the clinic in its midtown office, and the Women’s Venture Fund.
Over the course of the evening, 14 volunteer attorneys from Blank Rome LLP provided expert legal counsel to 15 women entrepreneurs whose businesses represented a diverse array of industries including cuisine, business consulting, childcare, and digital media. Each client was able to meet with a team of two to three volunteer attorneys. The attorneys’ varying areas of legal expertise allowed them to advise on a wide range of legal issues— from incorporation and contracts to intellectual property and tax issues.
The entrepreneurs who participated in the clinic had an overwhelmingly positive response, with all participants reporting that they felt better prepared to move forward with their business goals as a result of attending the clinic. “With the assistance of NELP and the Women’s Venture Fund, we were able to bring together more than a dozen lawyers with community entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. Not only did the clinic provide a benefit to the participating clients, but the work was also equally meaningful and important to our attorney volunteers,” said Rustin Paul, a partner at Blank Rome LLP who was instrumental in organizing the clinic. “We feel very fortunate to work with organizations like NELP and the Women’s Venture Fund to help us deepen our commitment to pro bono service. We look forward to holding more on-site clinics like this one in the future.”
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