Pro Bono Scholars: Experiencing the Small Business Entrepreneurial Spirit
by Cheryl Lopez, Project Coordinator May 21, 2018
The Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP)
There are many factors that make the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP)’s work possible. We take pride in our enduring partnerships with NYC’s community-based organizations in our efforts to help small business owners. We are equally grateful for the ongoing pro bono support we receive from attorneys at the City’s most esteemed corporate legal departments and law firms. Integrating the next generation of the City’s attorneys also plays a role in furthering NELP’s work for micro-entrepreneurs.
NELP’s Pro Bono Scholars
Anthony Desiderio joined NELP as a third year law school student, participating in the Pro Bono Scholars Program through New York Law School. In his final semester, Anthony worked at the City Bar Justice Center with NELP and the Consumer Bankruptcy Project to gain the skills and experience necessary to jump-start his legal career. Under the supervision of NELP Director Akira Arroyo, Anthony had the opportunity to interact directly with clients, handle intakes and follow-up interviews, and conduct client-related legal research. Anthony noted, “During the last two months, I have been able to put my skills to the test in the real world, with real clients, on real matters.” Furthermore, he described the entrepreneurs he’s worked with as being extremely passionate and driven to succeed, making his efforts all the more worthwhile.
Through this law school program, Scholars participate in community-based events, including legal clinics and presentations. Recently, Anthony presented at Pace University’s Small Business Development Center on the topic of business structures. In preparing for his presentation, Anthony spent weeks conducting extensive research and learning a range of small business-related matters. “I enjoyed the moment I was able to finally stand in front of the eager crowd to inform them on different business structures. I got to advise them on the many additional considerations they should keep in mind as entrepreneurs who want to launch a small business,” he said.
Additionally, Akira remarked that it was great to see Anthony’s preparation and practice all come together to provide the entrepreneurs with what, as they noted, was a helpful and informative presentation. “Though it has always been rewarding to share the tools entrepreneurs need to launch a successful small business, it was equally gratifying to witness Anthony’s professional growth over the course of the program.”
On a final note, Akira said she looks forward to continue helping law school students prepare to start their promising careers as attorneys. “The Pro Bono Scholars program is a great opportunity for third year law students. Nowhere else can they start developing the skills they will need to go on and practice law so early, while also serving the public interest.”
[Photo: Pro Bono Scholar, Anthony Desiderio, presenting at Pace University’s Small Business Development Center.]
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