Feb. 3, 2021 – The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Business Law Section has launched the Small Business Assistance Project to provide free legal assistance to small businesses.
One of the primary challenges will be to get the word out to Wisconsin’s small businesses, according to Patricia J. Lane, a Business Law Section board member and organizer of the project. Lane is a partner with Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee.
“We feel that we will be able to keep up with demand and really look forward to serving Wisconsin businesses, getting them on their feet, and making sure they don’t spend funds needlessly on legal services when we can be there for them,” Lane said.
The project offers free, one-hour consultations with volunteer attorneys. While the services are limited in scope, attorneys can help with specific issues or provide overall guidance, noted Marquette University Law Professor Nadelle Grossman, associate dean for academic affairs and vice chair of the State Bar’s Business Law Section.
“There are a lot of contracts questions that business are dealing with,” Prof. Grossman, noting that small business owners may wonder if the pandemic excuses them from performance or allows them to delay performance to a future date.
She also noted many businesses are dealing with workplace safety issues related to COVID, and many just can’t afford to pay for legal services at this time.
“We want to help them get over these hurdles so they can continue to operate their businesses successfully,” Grossman noted.
Lane said the Small Business Assistance Project aims to meet demand and use volunteers to continue the project after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
“The impetus for starting the program was COVID-19 and civil unrest issues that businesses have faced recently, but we are intending to provide these services into the indefinite future, hopefully for years to come,” said Lane.
“We want to be there for small businesses.” Lane noted. “We want to help those who cannot otherwise afford these services.”
Learn more about the Small Business Assistance Project