Winner of the 2010 Partnership Award, the Microenterprise Project leverages law firms' and legal departments' deep expertise in business law to promote economic development in New York City by helping low-income micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses to surmount legal obstacles. The work of the Project is guided by our Microenterprise Project Advisory Council.
The small business owners we serve exemplify the best of New York City; a place where anyone from anywhere can come and can succeed if he or she is willing to work very hard. Our clients come from all over the world. Many have triumphed over adversities that would be unimaginable to most middle-class Americans, such as extreme poverty, hunger, civil war, and political persecution. All of them, however, have a dream of owning their own successful businesses. Their idealism and enthusiasm are inspiring and infectious.
The businesses and legal issues our volunteer attorneys encounter are as varied as the New York City. We have helped businesses ranging from a bicycle parts-inventor to a gin-distiller, on issues ranging from corporate structure to intellectual property.
The Project matches law firms and legal departments with community organizations, micro-lenders, and government agencies that help low-income business-people. Typically, these groups screen and assess clients, then refer them to law firm staff when appropriate. Many firms and legal departments also choose to conduct trainings on specific issues such as trademark and commercial leases for their agencies.
In 2012, through the Microenterprise Project, 314 attorneys and paralegals volunteered 5,507 hours, a value of roughly $2,000,000 in donated legal fees, to assist 342 small business owners and entrepreneurs.
See the list of participating law firms, legal departments, and community organizations
LAW FIRMS AND LEGAL DEPARTMENTS - Inquire about the Microenterprise Project
Organizations and Agencies - Inquire about the Microenterprise Project