Triangle Business Journal, in an effort to educate low-income and start up business about the free services available in the state covered several programs. Services offered at UNC, NCCU and Duke were highlighted along with NC LEAP, the Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Project, a program of the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation. Milan Pham is the founding director of NC LEAP.
UNC, NCCU, N.C. Leap offer small businesses free legal help
Faced with a slumping economy, more small businesses are turning to legal clinics operated by area attorneys, universities and legal associations, according to those operating such clinics.
The tight economy, coupled with a proliferation of startups, has increased the number of people seeking assistance, says Milan Pham, director of the North Carolina Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Project, a program of the North Carolina Bar Association. “We now have over 350 volunteer lawyers who assisted on more than 400 business issues last year,” she says. “This year, we are sponsoring several clinics each month statewide and even more businesspeople are attending.”
COUNSEL TO BUSINESS
Legal service programs range from free clinics to one-on-one counseling sponsored by area legal and business organizations.
At N.C. LEAP, lawyers provide pro bono services to low-income businesspeople who need help starting or expanding their companies. In addition, free legal clinics are held statewide for small business owners.
The Durham County Bar Association, in partnership with N.C. LEAP and the Durham Technical Community College Small Business Center, sponsors quarterly free legal clinics for business owners.
In November, nine attorneys provided one-on-one counseling to 10 businesspeople on issues ranging from forming a business to trademarks. At the March clinic, the number of those seeking assistance rose to 23, and the number of volunteer attorneys increased to 13.
The full article with information on other programs offering services to NC businesses, visit Triangle Business Journal Online.