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    12.08.14 CUBE Co-Sponsors Small Business Legal Academy at Brooklyn Law School

    On Wednesday, November 19, Brooklyn Law School hosted the Second Small Business Legal Academy (SBLA), a one-day event bringing together corporate law firms, civil legal services organizations, financial services consultants, City and State agencies and other service providers to strengthen New York City's vibrant and diverse small-business community. The event was presented by the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, nine of the leading nonprofit civil legal services organizations in New York City, and Brooklyn Law School’s  Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE).

    Over 130 attendees took part in the day’s events, which included meeting with pro bono attorneys on a variety of legal issues, learning about starting and managing their own businesses or nonprofits, and addressing solutions to the legal and financial challenges their organizations face.

    Approximately 30 BLS students, along with about 30 Columbia Law School students, volunteered and assisted law firm partners and associates in providing brief advice consultations, and in making referrals to legal services organizations who were conducting intake onsite.

    “Experiencing a client intake gave me a sense for how to communicate with a potential client,” said Ayshe Mazinova ’15, an LL.M. student. “From this experience I now know how to differentiate determinative facts from facts that are less relevant.”

    In total, 100 volunteer lawyers spent 400 hours during the day providing pro bono assistance. Participants also had the opportunity to attend three workshops throughout the day: Legal Essentials for Small Businesses, Not-for-Profit Governance & Fundraising, and Raising Capital for your Small Business.

    “When making the decision to transfer, one of the primary reasons I chose to attend Brooklyn Law School was the opportunity to become involved with CUBE,” said Lili Rogowsky ’16. “The SBLA provided the hands-on learning experience that I hoped for.”

    Two other students sang the praises of the day’s events:

    “One of our clients was starting a real-estate management company abroad,” said Daniel Chertok ’16. “At one point he had two law firm associates, a real estate partner, a tax specialist and myself all working with him together on startup and incorporation legal issues.  Even our client was amazed. Overall it was a great experience.”

    “Participating in live consultations was an enlightening way to gain an understanding of the broad range of legal issues that small business owners experience,” said Bill Meehan ’16, an accelerated J.D. student. “In just three hours, I heard issues pertaining to intellectual property, commercial real estate, corporate entity formation, contracts and regulatory law. The opportunity to observe and learn from practicing attorneys as they addressed each issue was extremely valuable. It was also great to connect with members of the community, and their genuine gratitude for the event was very rewarding.”

    “It was invaluable,” said Stephen Switzer, co-owner of Third Root Community Health Center, a yoga, massage, and acupuncture business in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.  “You have no idea how helpful this has been to me and to my business. I can’t believe I was able to get such high quality legal advice for free.”

    For further reading:

    Brooklyn hosts legal expo for small businesses (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

    2014 Looks Profitable, Wells Fargo Says: Business of Law (Bloomberg)