St. Louis Chapter
Many in-house lawyers are reluctant to engage in pro bono services because of the nature of their corporate practice, the concern about the time commitment and because their corporate employer does not provide malpractice insurance coverage for volunteer legal work. ACC St. Louis has crafted a solution to these roadblocks for members who want to contribute pro bono legal services but have been reluctant to do so in the past, through a collaborative venture with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) and the support of one of our Chapter sponsor law firms, Thompson Coburn. This partnership gives our members the opportunity to use their unique skills to make an investment in our community and make a difference in the lives of those we serve.Importantly, the time commitment for involvement is structured to meet the individual needs of the member volunteer; subject matter legal support is available to the volunteer and for all work through LSEM volunteer lawyers fall under the umbrella of the LSEM malpractice coverage.
Community Economic Development (CED) Program
LSEM's CED program provides free business legal assistance to entrepreneurs who are starting or expanding small businesses that provide a benefit to the lower-income communities that LSEM serves and to non-profit entities that promote community development to benefit people who are low-income. The CED Program helps generate jobs, create healthy communities, and provide a long-term solution to alleviate poverty. Through the Chapter's work with CED, our members have opportunities to support these efforts and make an impact in our community in a number of ways:
·Chapter volunteers staff monthly Nonprofit Legal Clinics at LSEM where our members meet with prospective LSEM clients for brief one-on-one sessions
·Chapter volunteers also staff CED Business Legal Clinics for entrepreneurs at the St. Louis Agency on Training on Employment (SLATE) Missouri Career Center.At the SLATE clinics, we provide brief one-on-one sessions to provide general guidance on questions involved in starting or expanding businesses on issues including entity formation, employment, intellectual property, corporate governance, real estate zoning compliance, contracts, and commercial loans and franchising.
These clinics require a time commitment of just 2-3 hours each, are limited to giving preliminary general advice, and do not require taking on a client representation.Members can sign up for the clinics on a one-time basis or as often as their schedules permit.
We also provide opportunities for our members to engage in one-on-one legal representation of LSEM (Legal Services of Eastern Missouri) clients for start-up and existing enterprises on discrete business law matters. For this representation our volunteer members have the opportunity to partner with our law firm sponsor Thompson Coburn attorneys for guidance and assistance on the issues presented. The client representations are limited to discrete projects and are not intended to be open-ended.
Pro Bono Speakers Bureau
In coordination with LSEM, the Chapter has developed a Speakers Bureau through which our members can volunteer to speak for an hour or two at Legal Workshops for entrepreneurs or non-profit managers on topics they need to know in starting or growing a business or organization.
If you are interested in being involved in any of these pro bono opportunities, or you have additional questions about the programs, please contact our Chapter Administrator, Susan Wagner, at 314-416-0404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.