Legal Services Alabama offers free entrepreneur legal clinics

Staff Report
Posted 1/20/23

Legal Services Alabama (LSA) has partnered with Adams and Reese LLP to offer a free, monthly virtual legal clinic dedicated to supporting Black, minority, women-owned small businesses and nonprofit …

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Legal Services Alabama offers free entrepreneur legal clinics

Posted

Legal Services Alabama (LSA) has partnered with Adams and Reese LLP to offer a free, monthly virtual legal clinic dedicated to supporting Black, minority, women-owned small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Mobile.

Interested business and nonprofit owners can register for an intake appointment to determine eligibility, available resources and services. LSA will conduct the initial screening and intake of prospective clients and then contact Adams and Reese to schedule the one-hour virtual, legal clinic sessions. Pre-registration is required, and spots will fill quickly.

The clinic will begin Tuesday, Jan. 31, and occur the third Tuesday of every month, except for February's date is on the fourth Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Eligible businesses should consist of majority underrepresented ownership and limited means. While the clinics focus on uplifting Black business owners and nonprofit founders, the services are also available to other underrepresented communities. Other racial minorities, women of all backgrounds and LGBTQ service providers are encouraged to apply for legal assistance.

Adams and Reese attorneys will answer questions on topics pertaining to business and nonprofit formation and entity designation, labor and employment, corporate services and additional general legal matters.

"Black business owners and nonprofit founders often face huge barriers to access even general legal needs to support their operations, and so this partnership with Legal Services Alabama will provide such an essential service that plays a direct role in the ecosystem entrepreneurs need to be successful," said Victoria Shoots, Adams and Reese associate in the Mobile office and the firm's representative on the partnership.

Shoots helped ideate the Legal Services Alabama clinic tailored to Black-owned businesses and nonprofits while she served as an inaugural John Lewis Fellow with LSA. The program launched in June 2022 when LSA partnered with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings (Bradley) in Birmingham. Adams and Reese will be the first law firm to provide the same services in Mobile.

"This collaboration is a very full-circle moment," Shoots said. "When I was at LSA and was tasked to think of a project that would honor former Congressman John Lewis's legacy, I immediately thought of the need to establish a bridge between Black small businesses and the necessary legal services that ensure their economic success. I believe there are a number of business owners in the Mobile area from underrepresented communities who could benefit from this partnership. Many small businesses lack the means or are simply unaware of the legal needs for their business. The goal is to offer this clinic as a valuable resource."

Nell Brimmer, LSA Managing Attorney of Client Access and coordinator of the John Lewis Fellowship, has reconnected with Shoots since her time as a fellow to expand the work LSA did with Bradley in Birmingham into a new partnership with Adams and Reese LLP for Mobile.

"LSA is honored to partner on this new pro bono project with Adams and Reese," Brimmer said. "Building pro bono partnerships that reach and serve more clients is a mission of the Legal Services Alabama law firm, and this new collaboration will create more equitable access to high-quality legal services that bolster our client communities."

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