Bradley is pleased to announce the launch of the firm’s second pro bono initiative dedicated to supporting Black small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The Black Small Business and Nonprofit Community Clinic, a joint project of Bradley and Legal Services Alabama (LSA), will provide accessible and affordable business-oriented legal services to local Black small businesses and nonprofits throughout Birmingham. The Birmingham clinic is modeled after Bradley’s highly successful Black-Owned Small Business and Nonprofit Clinic in Nashville that opened in January 2021.
“We recognize the historic and systemic racial inequities that have made it challenging for the Black business community to thrive in Birmingham,” said Bradley Birmingham Office Managing Partner Dawn Helms Sharff. “Our partnership with LSA is an opportunity for Bradley to join the cause for racial equity and to make a lasting impact in the local community.”
“Our attorneys are committed to breaking down some of the barriers that prevent Black business owners from receiving the support they need to legally maintain their businesses,” said Tiffany Graves, Pro Bono Counsel at Bradley. “Bradley is working to bridge the gap between the legal needs of those who cannot afford or access legal services and the resources available to meet those needs.”
The Birmingham Black Small Business and Nonprofit Community Clinic opens virtually on Friday, April 29 from noon to 1 p.m. and is by appointment only. Succeeding clinics will be offered on the fourth Thursday of each month through December 22. Appointments are initially virtual, with plans to transition to in-person operations in the coming months.
“We recognize that we all share a responsibility to effect change in our fight for racial justice,” said LSA Executive Director Guy Lescault. “We are excited to collaborate with Bradley to help fulfill our mission and work to rectify historical inequities in Birmingham’s Black business and nonprofit communities.”
“The clinic partnership between LSA and Bradley is a great next step in the evolution of addressing poverty in historically disenfranchised communities,” said Frederick Spight, LSA Court Debt Project Staff Attorney. “The goal is to help local entrepreneurs build their capacity for organic growth and development, thereby providing jobs and helping build wealth in these communities for generations to come.”
“LSA is committed to expanding our pro bono partnerships and supporting the initiatives of our John Lewis Fellows. The Black Small Business and Nonprofit Community Clinic with Bradley allows LSA to continue the community development work started under Frederick’s John Lewis Fellowship project in 2020, with Bradley’s expertise and success in creating clinic collaborations,” added Nell Brimmer, LSA Managing Attorney of Client Access.
LSA will conduct the initial screening of prospective clients. Eligible businesses should consist of at least 50% Black ownership with 10 or fewer employees and limited means.
LSA is one of the preeminent legal aid organizations in the country in bridging the civil justice gap through its recognized commitment to racial, social, and economic justice. LSA provides free civil legal advocacy to low-income Alabamians and collaborates with others across the state and nation to find solutions to systemic issues caused by poverty and social justice inequities.