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Three Financial Institutions Help Micro-entrepreneurs at Free Legal Clinic

by CBJC Staff February 24, 2014

On February 12th, the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP) held a small business legal clinic in Harlem in partnership with the Upper Manhattan NYC Business Solutions Center. Volunteer lawyers and legal professionals from three powerhouse financial institutions – Barclays, Goldman Sachs, and UBS – partnered with NELP to provide low-income micro-entrepreneurs with expert legal advice for their small businesses.

In total, 13 attorneys and 4 legal service professionals volunteered at the clinic, showing strong representation from all three financial institutions. Over the course of the evening, these volunteers provided legal counsel to 20 clients whose businesses represented a diverse array of industries including pet grooming, film production, cuisine and fitness. Each client was able to meet with a team of three to four volunteers at once. The attorneys’ varying areas of legal expertise allowed them to advise on everything from incorporation and contracts to intellectual property and tax issues.

“This clinic was a tremendous success. The advice and guidance that the in-house attorneys provide to these entrepreneurs are an invaluable and core part of growing their businesses,” said Akira Arroyo, NELP’s director. “It is through the efforts of generous volunteer attorneys like those from Barclays, Goldman Sachs and UBS that NELP is able to provide hundreds of small business owners each year with quality legal assistance, which most would otherwise be unable to afford.”

This three-bank legal clinic model was first conducted in 2012, bringing together in-house attorneys from each financial institution to assist low-income clients with their small business legal issues. Carlos Pelayo, a Managing Director in Barclays Legal Department, said, “Citizenship at Barclays is defined as positively impacting the communities in which we operate, and the NELP program gives us a terrific opportunity to support this incredibly important agenda.”


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