NC LEAP provides free legal help for small businesses

By Lauren Harkey

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North Carolina Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program (NC LEAP) is a nonprofit program that provides free business-related and transactionallegal services to business owners and entrepreneurs unable to afford legal counsel.  Through the generous donations of local businesses, area law firms, and through the work of over 300 volunteer attorneys, NC LEAP strives to give back to the community by helping small businesses thrive in our state.

For qualifying arts nonprofits and businesses, NC Leap volunteer attorney’s can assist with a full range of transactional legal services to low-wealth entrepreneurs including:

  • Legal counsel and advice in startng and organizing a new business;
  • Drafting and/or reviewing documents, including articles of organization, by-laws, contracts, leases, loan documents, franchise agreements and vendor agreements;
  • Assistance in negotiating contracts;
  • Legal advice regarding business permits and licenses, and other applicable laws and regulations;
  • Protection of intellectual property through copyright, patent (limited cases), and trademark;
  • Referral to community partners including micro-lenders, entrepreneurial training programs and technical assistance programs; and
  • Trainings and presentations on legal issues for small business owners.

NC LEAP also offers self-help fact sheets and workshops to help address your legal concerns. Specifically, NC Leap provides “Ounce of Prevention” fact sheets for the following subjects:

Bankruptcy
Business Structure
Contracts
Human Resources
Patent
Trademark
Trade Secrets

NC LEAP is an invaluable resource for our community and particularly for new or underfunded arts and creative businesses and nonprofit organizations.  Specifically, NC LEAP’s efforts focus on businesses in low-wealth communities who hire and train low wealth employees, entrepreneurs with less than 5 employees, and established nonprofit organizations.  If your business is interested in applying to become a client of NC LEAP, submit an application.  Have more questions?  Find the FAQ here.

Lauren Harkey is a 2nd year Law Student at UNC Law School.  Lauren is working with Triangle ArtWorks through the UNC Law School Pro Bono Program to help Triangle ArtWorks and other partners develop methods to bring more legal resources to the Triangle’s arts business community.  Look for more results from this work soon! 

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