Microenterprise Project Launches Commercial Leasing Initiative

September 6, 2016

Building on over 10 years’ of award-winning experience enabling leading law firms to provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income entrepreneurs and small business owners, VOLS' Microenterprise Project has teamed up with NYC Small Business Services to launch our Commercial Leasing Initiative.

Through the Commercial Leasing Initiative, VOLS, NYC SBS, and our participating law firms will educate hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business owners across New York City about commercial leasing, and empower them to negotiate with confidence and make wise decisions in an area that is vital to the success of their businesses.


Between now and July, 2017, VOLS and our partners will conduct 28 workshops in all five boroughs of New York City and create practical, clear guides in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, French, and Russian.

Kelsey Ripper, Director of VOLS’ Microenterprise Project, who recently played a lead role in passage of a law protecting small commercial tenants from harassment, said: 

“We are thrilled to be working with the city and our participating firms to educate entrepreneurs and small business owners about commercial leasing.  Gentrifying neighborhoods and a hot real estate market have made it increasingly difficult for the small businesses we all know and love in our neighborhoods – from tiny bakeries to mom-and-pop stores – to gain and keep their footholds. The Commercial Leasing Initiative will leverage the legal expertise of leading law firms to make sure that New York City continues to be a place where anyone from anywhere can add to the thriving life of our city if she or he has a goodidea and is willing to work hard.”

The following law firms are already participating:
Chadbourne & Parke
Goulston & Storrs
Katten Muchin Rosenman
Kirkland & Ellis
Morrison & Foerster
Patterson Belknap

If your law firm would like to join this effort by conducting workshops or drafting or translating materials, please contact Kelsey Ripper at kripper@volsprobono.org.