Charleston Legal Access announced that it has partnered with law firms Nelson Mullins and Jackson Lewis, Lawyers for Good Government (L4GG), and Lowcountry Local First to launch a remote legal clinic to help small businesses and nonprofits in Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Jasper counties weather the economic impact of COVID-19.
L4GG is a nonprofit working with law firms across the country to develop these small business legal advice clinics, which began in partnership with the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and the City Bar Justice Center in New York City.
Qualifying small businesses with 25 or fewer employees and nonprofit organizations can submit their legal question using this online screening form located on the Charleston Legal Access website. Pro bono lawyers with experience in that particular subject matter will then be matched with a small business to offer a free 45-minute virtual or telephone legal consultation, helping small business owners and nonprofits navigate the CARES Act, or questions related to employment, contract enforcement, commercial leases, insurance, and insolvency.
“In the current climate, small businesses and nonprofit groups are in need of our support. We have come together as law firms to provide our guidance to these organizations, as well as to simply provide a sounding board for them,” said Taylor Daly, pro bono partner at Nelson Mullins.
“Jackson Lewis is excited to partner with Lawyers for Good Government, Charleston Legal Access, Nelson Mullins, and Lowcountry Local First to launch this clinic. Small businesses and nonprofits are vital to South Carolina’s economy, and we are eager to work with them to overcome the challenges they face because of COVID-19,” said Jackson Lewis partner Stephanie E. Lewis.
Charleston Legal Access is extremely grateful to all the law firms and attorneys who have committed themselves during this unprecedented time to provide legal advice to our small businesses and nonprofits that are the heart of our community. Currently, many of these small business and nonprofits are cash strapped and cannot afford private attorneys. Without access to legal advice, they can make decisions that are costly or disastrous down the road. The counsel of pro bono attorneys affords them the ability to rebuild and to contribute to our economy’s growth and stability.” Lana Kleiman, executive director of Charleston Legal Access.
Attorneys can volunteer for the project if their law firm or department has signed up to be a part of the project through the L4GG clinic website. Click here to sign up a firm or department. Once a firm/department is registered, individual volunteer attorneys can click here to volunteer.
ABOUT CHARLESTON LEGAL ACCESS
CLA is South Carolina’s first and only sliding-scale, nonprofit law firm. We provide low-cost and quality legal representation to the working poor and others of modest means who do not qualify for free legal services but who cannot afford a private attorney. We believe — and are demonstrating — that affordable legal assistance at critical moments in people’s lives preserves homes, income streams, and other assets that keep families out of poverty. We also engage in projects to create systemic change, which are informed by our direct services work.
We serve those between 125-400% of the Federal Poverty Line. We provide advice and counsel sessions over the phone for free, 1-2 hour in-depth, in-person consultations for a flat fee of $50-$100 and full legal representation on a sliding scale. This means all our full representation clients pay fees, but the amount they pay is based on their income and family size. Our sliding scale model provides legal assistance at low, accessible rates of $50-100 per hour (15-30% of the cost of hiring a private firm), with the rate determined by the individual’s income and family size. We currently serve the Tri-county area (Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties). We assist clients with civil matters, plaintiff and defense, including housing, property, contracts, consumer rights, small business matters, employment, victims’ rights, elder law and limited family law. For more details please visit our website or you can reach us at (843) 640-5980.