150 Attorneys Support Over 250 Small Businesses

Coronavirus, Economic Justice, Events, Racial Justice

Today, Lawyers for Civil Rights and over a dozen Boston law firms and corporate sponsors will host the BizGrow Conference, a free event providing hundreds of minority-owned, woman-owned, and immigrant-owned small businesses with free legal consultations and technical support. BizGrow will be held virtually from 9:30 AM to 5 PM. Now in its fourth year, this one-day event will serve over 250 entrepreneurs with more than 150 volunteer attorneys and business professionals offering free assistance. 

“Building wealth in communities of color is a key part of the civil rights movement,” said Priya Lane, LCR | BizGrow Director. Ms. Lane noted that recent reports — such as the anemic number of minority contractors involved with the City of Boston — continue to reveal alarming disparities in wealth across racial lines in Boston. “The BizGrow Conference helps to close the opportunity gap by connecting minority-owned, woman-owned, and immigrant-owned small businesses to the critical resources they need to grow and thrive.” 

The BizGrow Conference will feature volunteer attorneys from more than a dozen Boston law firms, including Goodwin, Nixon Peabody, Ropes & Gray, Brown Rudnick, WilmerHale, Morgan Lewis, Foley Hoag, Mintz Levin, Goulston & Storrs, Holland & Knight, and Gunderson Dettmer, providing free one-on-one legal consultations to entrepreneurs on small business legal issues. 

The BizGrow Conference will offer over 15 technical assistance workshops across the day including: 

  • Goodwin on small business reopening issues, contracts, and food labeling;
  • Nixon Peabody on commercial leases; and
  • Financial institutions such as Accion and the Boston Impact Initiative on access to capital for small businesses. 

Sponsors include Goodwin, Nixon Peabody, Tufts Health Plan, Eastern Bank, Santander, the Boston Impact Initiative, and The Boston Foundation. 

The BizGrow Conference is a signature event of LCR | BizGrow, which provides free legal assistance, business support, and technical assistance to minority, immigrant, and women business owners—ensuring they encounter fewer obstacles and more opportunities. LCR annually serves over 500 small businesses across industries and sectors. Over 90% of businesses assisted are minority-owned or immigrant-owned, and over 60% are women-owned. LCR connects pro bono attorneys to entrepreneurs with specific legal needs, and conducts technical assistance workshops throughout the year on topics of interest to small businesses. 

In light of COVID-19, programming for small businesses has continued seamlessly online and virtually. In response to the economic crisis, LCR expanded its work to provide free legal advice to small businesses on paycheck protection program (PPP) loans and reopening issues. LCR also partnered with Tufts Health Plan and an anonymous family to provide direct financial support to 50 minority-owned and woman-owned small businesses in COVID-19 hotspots to help them purchase personal protective equipment (PPE). Many of these small businesses — located in Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Haverhill, and Lawrence — will be virtually attending the BizGrow Conference.  

For more information visit: http://lawyersforcivilrights.org/BizGrow