NEW YORK – As part of its summer program, Weil gives summer associates the opportunity to work directly for a pro bono client for two weeks through a Pro Bono Externship. I spent the sixth and seventh weeks of my summer with Start Small Think Big, a nonprofit that provides legal, financial and market access advice to small business entrepreneurs in New York City. The organization works with a wide range of businesses and provides legal guidance on issues like entity selection, trademarks, patents and sales tax compliance.
While Start Small Think Big assesses the legal needs of the small business owners, the actual legal assistance comes from associates and partners at law firms across the city. One of the highlights of my Pro Bono Externship was a legal entity clinic that Start Small Think Big ran at Weil. A team of corporate attorneys volunteered to spend an hour with a small business owner to assist in selecting the type of legal entity to form and to begin the necessary paperwork. I was able to sit in on one of these meetings and participate in the conversation. By the end of the meeting, the business owner with whom we worked was so excited about the progress she’d made and the questions to which she finally had answers. It was very rewarding to witness the direct and immediate benefit the Weil attorneys had on her business.
The Pro Bono Externship is the perfect opportunity to see how Weil leverages the resources of the private bar to support public interest legal organizations.