Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project

Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project


The City Bar Justice Center’s Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP) provides free legal support to microentrepreneurs of limited economic means who seek to achieve financial stability through entrepreneurship. By providing free legal services to communities that have been traditionally disenfranchised, we help NELP clients achieve financial independence and break the cycle of poverty created by systemic inequality, while bringing jobs and services to the communities where they live and work.

NELP’s volunteer attorneys provide assistance through legal presentations, legal clinics and direct pro bono representation. They assist entrepreneurs with issues such as entity formation, contracts & agreements, commercial lease reviews & negotiations, and intellectual property protections.

To date, NELP has partnered with more than 100 law firms, 25 corporate legal departments, and 30 community-based organizations to assist more than 18,000 clients through the provision of brief services, direct representation, legal clinics, and community presentations.

Akira Arroyo directs the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project and Liam Broderick is the project coordinator.

To get help from the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project, call 212.382.6633 or email

NELP Services

Small Business Legal Clinics – NELP’s legal clinics provide microentrepreneurs with the opportunity to speak one-on-one with an attorney regarding their small business legal issues. Frequently discussed topics include: business structure, incorporation, contracts and agreements, commercial leasing, and intellectual property protection. In order to attend, you must register in advance.

Presentations – NELP’s volunteer attorneys give presentations on small business legal issues at local community development organizations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

Direct Pro Bono Representation – to get additional assistance from NELP, call 212.382.6633 or email

To see all upcoming NELP events, view this page.

Not sure if this is the right project? Contact our free Legal Hotline at 212-626-7383.

General Resources

Business Plan Template (2020)

Choosing a Business Name (2022)

How to Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report

Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project Brochure

Piercing the Corporate Veil: What It Means and How You Can Protect Your Small Business (2022)

Piercing the Corporate Veil Video

General Partnership Fact Sheet (2022)

Sole Proprietorship Fact Sheet (2022)

Small Business and the NEW Corporate Transparency Act: What You Need to Know ~ Video (February 2024)

The Corporate Transparency Act and Beneficial Ownership (2024)

Small Business Cannabis Presentation Series Resources

Cannabis Business Entity & Tax: Choice of Entity and Taxation ~ Video (December/2023)

Cannabis Business Funding: Raising Capital & Banking ~ Video (December/2023)

Commercial Real Estate & Zoning: Finding the Spot ~ Video (December/2023)

Cannabis Business and Employment (October/2022)

Cannabis Ancillary Businesses (October/2022)

Business Entity Formation (October/2022)

Overview of Tax for Cannabis Enterprises (November/2022)

 Cannabis Business Fundraising 101 (November/2022)

Cannabis Real Estate & Zoning (NYC) (November/2022)



NELP 2021 Report: A Brief Overview

NELP 2020 Pro Bono Report

NELP 2018 Pro Bono Report

Upcoming events
NELP Small Business Cybersecurity Presentation - Wednesday, June 05th (1:00-2:30 PM)

A small business virtual legal presentation will be held over Zoom in partnership with the Upper Manhattan Business Solutions Center. This presentation will walk small business owners through the basics of (i) why cybersecurity is important; (ii) high level cybersecurity and privacy obligations a business owner might have; (iii) steps business owners can take to help protect their business and their customers; and (iv) what to do in the case of a cybersecurity incident. A Q&A session will follow. Registration is required. Please click here if interested in participating.

NELP Small Business Remote Legal Clinic - Thursday, June 06th (4:30-6:30 PM)

A small business virtual legal clinic will be held over Zoom in partnership with the Lower Manhattan Business Solutions Center. Registration is required. Please click here if interested in participating.

NELP Small Business Intellectual Property Presentation (In-Person) - Wednesday, June 12th (6:00-7:30 PM)

This presentation will provide small business owners with an overview of intellectual property rights through a discussion of Trademarks, Copyrights, Trade Secrets, and Patents. Held in partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library’s Business & Career Center and the Pace Small Business Development Center, the event will delve into the process of obtaining legally recognized IP protections as well as discuss common IP pitfalls for microentrepreneurs. Presentations will be held in-person at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library location at 10 Grand Army Plz, Brooklyn, NY 11238 in the Event Room of the Business & Career Center on the 2nd Floor. Registration is required. Please click here if interested in participating.

Click here to view a complete list
NELP Client Spotlight
  • Youma’s Beauty

    Husband and wife team, Moussa and Youma Niangadou, are the founders of Youma’s Beauty, an online beauty store devoted to empowering women with curly hair textures through quality hair products.  
    Read more

To learn more about Youma’s Beauty and other NELP clients click here.

Latest news
  • April 18, 2024
    Corporate Transparency Act: What Small Businesses Need to Know

    The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), which went into effect on January 1, 2024, was enacted as part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, intended to combat illegal finance and money laundering. It requires the reporting of beneficial ownership information with the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) by certain entities formed or registered in the United States. 
    Read more

  • April 26, 2022
    Micro-Entrepreneurs Go Digital: How the Pandemic Stimulated Online Business Growth and Opportunities

    When the Covid pandemic swept through New York two years ago, our city looked to the online business community to access goods and services that were once found in brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, most business owners were forced to re-evaluate their business models to accommodate the growing demand for online shopping if they hoped to survive the pandemic.
    Read more

  • September 9, 2021
    Insights Shared by NELP Volunteer Victor Metsch on Pro Bono Lessons Learned During the Pandemic

    The Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP) provides free legal support to New Yorkers of limited economic means who seek to achieve financial stability through entrepreneurship. The following exchange with Victor includes unique insights from his time volunteering with NELP’s CV-19 Clinic and a message to lawyers about doing pro bono work.
    Read more