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Thursday, March 8, 2012

East Bay Legal Clinic to Provide Legal Support to Bay Area Small Business Owners




 March 8, 2012
 
Contact: Suman Murthy, 415-543-9444 x218, smurthy@lccr.com
 
East Bay Legal Clinic to Provide Free Legal Support to Bay Area Small Business Owners
 
OAKLAND, CA – Legal Services for Entrepreneurs (LSE), an economic justice program of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, announces the launch of our East Bay clinic, bringing free legal services directly to low income entrepreneurs and small business owners to inspire the creation and expansion of businesses in underserved communities.   Today, in partnership with the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), the Lawyers’ Committee opens the clinic with a free legal workshop, " Starting a Business 101," at the Mandela Gateway Community Room,1350 7th St., across the street from the West Oakland Bart station.

“Small businesses are integral to the financial health of the Bay Area.  Our program exists to serve disadvantaged communities and improve opportunities for women and minorities to establish businesses.  We are delighted to partner with our colleagues at EBCLC to reduce the barriers to entry and expansion faced by local entrepreneurs,” said Kimberly Thomas Rapp, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee.
 
Following the inaugural workshop, free legal advice will be available to qualifying entrepreneurs through clinic sessions staffed by pro bono attorneys from the Bay Area’s top law firms.  Sessions are scheduled March 19 and 26 at EBCLC’s offices at 2921 Adeline St. in Berkeley. Additionally, businesses with more complex legal needs may be eligible for further free legal advice on intellectual property, employment law, and other issues through LSE’s attorney matching program.
 
“Small business owners and entrepreneurs often face legal issues that can be challenging to navigate alone.  Our expansion into the East Bay will bring access to free legal advice directly to merchants and small businesses in the area,” stated Risha Jamison, Lawyers’ Committee Senior Attorney and Director of the LSE program.
 
Access to technical assistance programs, such as Legal Services for Entrepreneurs and the East Bay clinic, can be crucial to ensure the success and survival of a business. The U.S. Small Business Administration has found that only 44% of companies remain in business after four years. In contrast, the National Business Incubators Association has concluded that businesses with access to appropriate technical assistance programs had an 87% success rate after 10 years.

About the Lawyers' Committee and Legal Services for Entrepreneurs:
For more than 40 years, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area has worked to advance, protect and promote the legal rights of communities of color, immigrants and refugees -- with a specific focus on low-income communities and a long-standing commitment to African Americans. Lawyers' Committee staff, working with hundreds of pro bono attorneys, provides free legal assistance and representation to individuals on civil legal matters through direct services, impact litigation and policy advocacy. In 2011, Lawyers’ Committee mobilized over 1,000pro bono attorneys who contributed more than 48,000 hours of free legal assistance, services valued at over $19 million. For more information, visit www.lccr.com.
 
Founded in 1997, Legal Services for Entrepreneurs (LSE) provides free business legal services to low-income individuals who want to start or develop for-profit businesses, and for-profit businesses committed to community economic development. To date, LSE has assisted more than 2,000 clients. The East Bay Clinic marks the continued expansion of LSE into Bay Area communities, along with clinics in San Francisco’s Fillmore, Chinatown and Mission neighborhoods.  For more information contact us at lse@lccr.com.
 
 About the East Bay Community Law Center and Green-Collar Community Clinic:
Since 1988, the East Bay Community Law Center has provided legal services and clinical training to promote justice and build a community that is more healthy, secure, productive and hopeful.  EBCLC uses a two-prong approach: 1) providing direct legal services and policy advocacy that are responsive to low-income community needs, focused in the areas of housing, health, immigration, , welfare, community reentry, consumer, homeless rights, economic justice and youth law; and 2) offering meaningful, hands-on clinical training for law students to equip future lawyers with the skills, tools, and principles to serve the needs of the community and to help create innovative solutions to the root causes of poverty. 
 
In 2011, EBCLC launched the Green-Collar Communities Clinic (GC3) as the latest effort in over 15 years of community economic development work that includes the development of the People’s Federal Credit Union in west Oakland, litigation to increase affordable housing in Oakland’s Chinatown, and non-profit incubation services throughout Alameda County. GC3, under the leadership of Skadden Fellow, Sushil Jacob, offers free, comprehensive professional assistance to low-income workers and entrepreneurs of color to incubate cooperative and environmentally-sustainable small businesses. 
131 Steuart St. Suite 400 | San Francisco, CA 94105 US

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