Nonprofit & Small Business Legal Assistance
- About Our Programs
- How to Get Involved
- Staff Contacts
- Video: D.C. Bar Helps Nonprofits and Small Businesses
About Our Programs
The Nonprofit Legal Assistance Program
The Pro Bono Center's Nonprofit Legal Assistance Program assists D.C. area community-based nonprofits. Many of these nonprofits provide vital services and would be unable to afford an attorney without significantly depleting their organization's ability to serve its client population. The Nonprofit Legal Assistance Program provides pro bono legal assistance for these nonprofits while offering opportunities for transactional attorneys to be a part of maintaining the important work these nonprofits do for our community.
The Small Business Legal Assistance Program
The Pro Bono Center's Small Business Legal Assistance Program supports entrepreneurs serving low-income neighborhoods. Establishing small businesses in low-income communities creates employment opportunities for residents. For low-income entrepreneurs, a small business also provides a way for its owners to create and build wealth that can be passed on to their families. The Small Business Legal Assistance Program presents a great way for the transactional legal community to assist in D.C. economic development through pro bono service.
Volunteer to Serve as Legal Counsel for a Nonprofit
The Nonprofit Legal Assistance Program matches nonprofits with D.C. law firms to provide on-going pro bono legal assistance on issues such as obtaining tax-exempt status, corporate governance, employment law, intellectual property, real estate, contract review and risk management. The Nonprofit Legal Assistance Program screens all nonprofits seeking legal help and works with the pro bono coordinators at law firms to place them with attorneys of the appropriate expertise.
Volunteer at Brief Advice Clinics
Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic
The Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic is a free walk-in legal clinic where entrepreneurs meet one-on-one with an attorney for brief legal information, including how to start a small business, employment law, intellectual property, real estate, taxation and government contracts. Attorneys meet with specific small business owners at the Clinic based on the entrepreneur's legal question and the attorney's expertise. Clinics are held monthly, except for August, and usually take place on a weeknight from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. or on a Saturday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The Small Business Legal Assistance Program holds a free training twice a year for attorneys interested in volunteering at the Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic. Since attorneys at the Clinic offer pro bono help in the area of law they already practice, it is not a requirement to attend this training to volunteer. However, new attorneys may find it particularly useful, and it is a great way for experienced attorneys to learn a new practice area that can assist the small businesses we serve.
Nonprofit Legal Clinics
Throughout the year, the Nonprofit Legal Assistance Program runs brief advice legal clinics for nonprofits to meet one-on-one with an attorney. Past clinics have covered such topics as nonprofit governance and intellectual property. Attorneys participate in a short training the morning of the legal clinic and then meet with their assigned nonprofit following the training. These clinics, with the training, usually take about half a workday.
Volunteer to Offer a Training Session
Attorneys can volunteer to teach a webinar or in-person training for small business owners or nonprofits executives. Trainings range from basics on corporate legal topics, to recent changes in the law. The Nonprofit Legal Assistance Program and Small Business Legal Assistance Program also occasionally seek attorneys to create legal alerts, guides and other written educational materials.
If your law firm, government agency, or in–house legal department has a pro bono coordinator, he or she will be able to tell you how you can get involved with the Nonprofit Legal Assistance Program and Small Business Legal Assistance Program.
For more information, contact us.