Microenterprise Project

Microenterprise Project Description

Microenterprise Project leverages law firms' and legal departments' deep expertise in business law to promote economic development in New York City. Through the project, pro bono lawyers help low-income micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses with legal issues such as entity selection and formation, commercial leasing, intellectual property, and contracts so that their businesses can thrive.

In 2016, volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students volunteered to assisted over 150 small business owners and entrepreneurs through the project. Hundreds more business owners and entrepreneurs attended the over 20 workshops that VOLS coordinated on small business legal topics in 2016. 

If your law firm or legal department would like to participate in the Microenterprise Project, please sign up here.

Who We Serve

The small business owners we serve represent the best of New York City, a place where anyone from anywhere should be able to succeed if she or he is willing to work hard. Our clients come from every corner of the world. Many have overcome tremendous adversity just to get here. Their idealism and enthusiasm is inspiring and infectious. The kinds of businesses we help are as diverse as the legal issues we resolve. We have helped business owners ranging from cleaning companies to restuarant owners to inventors, with issues including intellectual property, commercial real estate, contracts, and business formation.

Why Lawyers Volunteer

Many of the lawyers who volunteer through the Microenterprise Project are experts in their fields, and come from some of the world's best law firms. They report deep satisfaction from applying expertise usually reserved for large corporations to solve similar problems for tiny businesses. Some volunteers enjoy experiencing the tangible results of their efforts, such as tasting a cupcake from a bakery that just moved into its first commercial space or attending a restaurant opening. Others are moved by the incredible energy and resilience of their clients.


The VOLS Microenterprise Project is supported in part by a grant from the
New York Bar Foundation.