Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project

The City Bar Justice Center’s Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP) launched an initiative offering free remote legal consultations to help small businesses navigate challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more.

Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project


The Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP) of the City Bar Justice Center provides low- to moderate-income micro-entrepreneurs with the legal services necessary to start their businesses on sound legal footing.

NELP’s volunteer attorneys guide clients through such matters as incorporation and tax issues, contracts and agreements, commercial lease negotiations, copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Volunteer attorneys also offer presentations and legal clinics at community-based organizations on issues of concern to micro-entrepreneurs.

To date, NELP has partnered with more than 100 law firms, 25 corporate legal departments, and 30 community-based organizations to assist more than 14,000 clients through the provision of brief services, direct representation, legal clinics, and community presentations.

Akira Arroyo directs NELP.

To get help from the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project, call 212.382.6633 or email

NELP Services

Small Business Legal Clinics – NELP’s legal clinics provide microentrepreneurs with the opportunity to speak one-on-one with an attorney regarding their small business legal issues. Frequently discussed topics include: business structure, incorporation, contracts and agreements, commercial leasing, and intellectual property protection. In order to attend, you must register in advance.

Presentations – NELP’s volunteer attorneys give presentations on small business legal issues at local community development organizations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

Direct Pro Bono Representation – NELP can place certain, eligible entrepreneurs with a pro bono attorney to assist on one or more specific legal issues. Common legal issues that NELP volunteers take on for direct representation include corporate formation, drafting and reviewing formal business contracts, commercial lease reviews and negotiations, and protecting intellectual property through the filing of copyrights, trademarks, and patents, among other issues. If you would like to apply for our direct pro bono representation service, you must submit the following documents:

1) NELP Application for Pro Bono Legal Services – Click here to access and fill out the application. To submit the application online, please first download the PDF file, fill out the necessary information and then save the document on your computer. You may then send it out to us as a PDF document along with the rest of the application’s materials.

2) Proof of household income for any owners in the business –A copy of  your most recent personal tax returns, including all schedules and attachments (or a verification letter if you are currently unemployed or receiving public assistance)

3) Proof of business income – A copy of your corporate tax returns, if applicable

4) A complete
business plan – Click here to access our business plan template, which you may use as a model for your own business plan.

Please submit these documents via email to Once we receive your complete application, we will confirm receipt and provide any updates as we determine your eligibility for pro bono services.

To see all upcoming NELP events , view this page.

Not sure if this is the right project? Contact our free Legal Hotline at 212-626-7383.


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