CHARLOTTE — The N.C. Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program has expanded its services to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area and 13 surrounding counties.
N.C. LEAP, a program that helps low-income business owners through the N.C. Bar Association, marked the expansion March 25 with a ceremony and free clinics. The association assists business owners by providing pro bono lawyers to assist with legal issues that entrepreneurs face.
“With the enormous amount of work and capital which go into starting and maintaining a business, critical legal needs can often be neglected by the entrepreneur,” said Milan Pham, N.C. LEAP director.
“Adequate legal services are of paramount importance to the stability of local businesses, which in turn stimulate our economy and revitalize our rural and urban communities.”
Clients must apply for LEAP services and have to meet the program’s income and asset guidelines. According to N.C. LEAP’s Web site, eligible clients on average have less than $8,000 in savings and less than 80 percent of the average annual household income in their area.
N.C. LEAP is funded with grants from law firms and corporations across the state. Many of these organizations are in Charlotte, including Kilpatrick Stockton, Bank of America, Kennedy Covington, Duke Energy, Rayburn Cooper & Durham, Moore & VanAllen and others.
With the new expansion, LEAP now serves people in Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, Rickmond, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties.