WNY Law Center Offers Free Legal Assistance for Small Business Startups

Attorneys provide guidance on filing as a limited liability company and offer support for minority- and women-owned businesses.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The WNY Law Center is partnering with Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes’ office to host a small business legal clinic, offering free legal assistance for small business startups. The clinic aims to provide guidance on filing as a limited liability company (LLC) and support minority- and women-owned businesses in economically disadvantaged areas. With the goal of leveling the playing field for lower-income residents, the clinic seeks to empower individuals to start their own businesses and lift themselves out of poverty.

Filing as a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Starting a business can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to navigating legal requirements. The WNY Law Center’s clinic offers assistance in filing as an LLC, an important step that limits personal liability for business owners. By separating personal and business assets, entrepreneurs can protect their personal finances and assets in case of any legal issues or debts incurred by the business. Staff attorney Arthur Musarra emphasizes the importance of seeking proper legal guidance during this process to ensure a smooth and legally compliant startup.

Supporting Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses

The focus of the clinic is to support minority- and women-owned businesses, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas of Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes’ East Side district. By providing free legal assistance, the clinic aims to level the playing field and create opportunities for individuals who may face additional barriers in starting their own businesses. Research has shown that minority-owned businesses tend to hire from their local communities, generating employment opportunities in traditionally disadvantaged areas.

The Importance of MWBE Support

Paul Zuber, Executive Vice President of the Business Council of New York State, emphasizes the importance of lifting up Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). These businesses not only contribute to the economic growth of the state but also create job opportunities within disadvantaged communities. Zuber highlights the need for the state to create a more favorable environment for small business startups, including better access to capital, educational outreach to demystify legal and regulatory requirements, and reducing additional costs once businesses are established.

Challenges and Solutions for Small Business Startups

While there has been an increase in small business startups since the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges remain. Zuber points out that workers’ compensation costs in New York are significantly high, and addressing this issue could alleviate financial burdens for entrepreneurs. Additionally, the state needs to address the unemployment insurance issue, as employers face increasing taxes due to the depletion of the unemployment fund during the pandemic. Utilizing federal funds to replenish the fund could prevent further financial strain on businesses.

The WNY Law Center’s small business legal clinic provides a valuable opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to receive free legal assistance in starting their businesses. By offering guidance on filing as an LLC and supporting minority- and women-owned businesses, the clinic aims to level the playing field and empower individuals in economically disadvantaged areas. However, there are still challenges to overcome, such as high workers’ compensation costs and the unemployment insurance issue. Addressing these challenges and creating a more supportive environment for small business startups will contribute to the overall economic growth and prosperity of the state.