Vinson & Elkins Spearheads Small Business Legal Consultation Program in Houston, Provides Counsel to Small Businesses in New York
Vinson & Elkins and the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) have launched the Houston Small Business Legal Consultations (HSBLC) Program to provide free legal advice to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through free telephone consultations, volunteer attorneys will guide participants through loan and grant relief programs, taxes, commercial leases, contracts, employment, intellectual property and other pandemic-related general business issues.
Collaborating with V&E are law firms Akin Gump, Arnold & Porter, Blank Rome, DLA Piper, Fish & Richardson, Greenberg Traurig, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Kilpatrick Townsend, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Mayer Brown, Morgan Lewis, Norton Rose Fulbright, Orrick, Perkins Coie, Sidley Austin, Simpson Thacher, Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.
“V&E and all of the organizations involved with the launch of HSBLC are dedicated to helping members of our community however we can as they navigate uncharted territory,” said Ellyn Josef, V&E’s Pro Bono Counsel. “Small businesses are paramount to the vitality of our city and we hope this program provides them with useful advice to maintain operations through this pandemic and beyond.”
Program participants must be self-employed or own or represent a small business or non-profit organization and are asked to describe how their businesses have been affected by the pandemic. After a screening process, those who are eligible for the program will be matched with and receive pro bono legal guidance from a participating attorney.
HSBLC is an extension of Virtual Legal Lab, a program previously created by OBO and V&E, allowing small business owners to participate in one-on-one virtual consultations with licensed attorneys.
“What started as Virtual Legal Lab with two entities now includes a larger network of law firms who are committed to assisting the small business community in these challenging times,” said Marsha Murray, OBO director. “With small businesses facing existential threats during this pandemic, we encourage those who need this service to reach out.”
V&E is also participating in the Small Business Legal Relief Alliance, a collaborative effort between law firms and legal services organizations in New York to provide free legal counsel to small businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York-based business owners interested in determining their eligibility for this program, as well as the legal services provided are encouraged to visit www.SBLRA.org for further information. Houston-based business owners can find additional information at www.houstontx.gov/obo/free-legal-assistance.html.
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