The Small Business Legal Academy (“SBLA”) was organized by the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (“APBCo”), a membership organization of full-time pro bono counsel and coordinators at major commercial law firms across the country. APBCo is dedicated to improving access to justice by advancing the model of the full-time law firm pro bono counsel, enhancing the professional development of pro bono counsel and serving as a unified voice for the national law firm pro bono community.
In the fall of 2012, the board of directors of APBCo met with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the role of pro bono attorneys in the delivery of legal services to the poor and underserved, including innovative collaborations between law firms, legal services organizations, bar associations and the judiciary. Out of that meeting came a commitment from APBCo to design sustainable new solutions that will increase access to free legal services. APBCo has since initiated a series of new collaborations, in nine cities across the country, designed to expand national law firm efforts to increase access to justice and legal services. This effort is called APBCo IMPACT (Involving More Pro bono Attorneys in our Communities Together). APBCo IMPACT updated the Vice President about the progress of these various programs being launched around the nation.
One of these IMPACT collaborations in New York City has brought together a multitude of law firms and legal service providers to create the SBLA. Our first SBLA was on October 29th at Harlem's World Famous Apollo Theater. The next SBLA is scheduled for Novemer, 2014 at Brooklyn Law School. Small business legal relief is an integral aspect of law firm pro bono programs and economic redevelopment initiatives throughout New York City. The SBLA focuses on an open market approach: bringing law firms, legal service providers and fledgling small businesses together on a large scale, adding to the mix financial services consultants and City and State agencies. This model is designed to have a deep immediate impact, with a wide array of resources, and the opportunity to discuss typical legal issues with a broad audience (through workshops) as well as advise individual business owners (through individual legal counseling). Thank you for visiting this site.