Small Business Legal Assistance Program
Residents of low–income neighborhoods often must deal with a lack of retail establishments in their neighborhoods, and those businesses that are located in low–income neighborhoods often charge significantly higher prices than similar businesses in other parts of the District.
In addition, small businesses are responsible for creating most of the new jobs in the United States. Creating small businesses in low–income communities creates employment opportunities for residents. For low–income entrepreneurs, a small business also provides a way for them to create wealth that they can pass on to their families.
There are many obstacles that inhibit the formation of new businesses by low–income entrepreneurs. One of the most significant is the lack of access to legal services.
The Small Business Legal Assistance Program provides the following services:
- Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinics. These walk-in clinics are held every month, except August. The purpose of the clinics is to provide legal information to small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs who operate in economically disadvantaged areas or who have limited financial resources. The clinics provide current and aspiring business owners with an opportunity to speak with an attorney one-on-one. Volunteer attorneys help review legal documents and answer questions about starting a business, taxation, real estate leases, employment law, and other legal issues common to small business owners. The attorneys give brief general information. The events calendar is updated as these clinics are announced.
- Small Business Trainings. The Small Business Legal Assistance Program conducts in-person and webinar trainings in conjunction with small business counseling centers, government agencies and law firms in order to educate small businesses on important legal issues. Topics include employment law, government contracts, commercial leases and other legal issues. The events calendar is updated as these sessions are announced.
- Small Business Legal Resources. The Small Business Legal Assistance Program offers free guides, alerts on law changes, a trainings archive and other useful legal information on our online resource center, through the LawHelp website.
If you have any questions, please contact Lauren Paley.