Pro Bono
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Nonprofit & Small Business Legal Assistance

About Our Programs

Since 1999, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Nonprofit & Small Business Legal Assistance Programs have provided legal information, representation, and training to community-based nonprofit organizations that serve D.C. residents living on low-incomes and small businesses that contribute to the economic health of D.C. neighborhoods.

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.

How to Get Involved

COVID-19 Update: Please note all volunteer opportunities listed below are currently offered virtually over webinar, video call, or phone.

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 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. Volunteers are not expected to offer on-going advice beyond the brief legal information given during the clinic.

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.

COVID-19 Update: Due to increased need, the Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic is currently offered virtually on a rolling-basis. Fill out our volunteer interest form to be contacted about opportunities to assist at future clinics over video call or phone.

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 before 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 training for small business owners or nonprofit 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.

Staff Contacts

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.

D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center Helps Nonprofits and Small Businesses

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