Free legal advice for Northern Va. small businesses struggling due to COVID-19

A network of law firms and legal service providers is offering pro bono assistance for small businesses amid the pandemic. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/AndreyPopov)

Many small businesses face an added layer of legal challenges and expenses during the coronavirus pandemic as they fight to stay open or reopen, and a new initiative in Northern Virginia is offering to help for free.

The COVID-19 Pro Bono Collaborative is a partnership formed by the Northern Virginia Pro Bono Law Center, small business assistance nonprofit Start Small Think Big and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (EDA).

The network of law firms and legal service providers is offering pro bono assistance for small businesses that includes help with federal assistance, grant and loan programs, landlord and lease problems and employment issues.

It also provides remote legal and financial clinics and one-on-one sessions on the COVID-19 stimulus package and COVID-19-related legal issues.

The consultations with volunteer attorneys and financial advisors are conducted via phone or video, with initial consultations of one to two hours and optional follow-up meetings.

Filling out a short online form is all it takes to request assistance.

“During this unprecedented time, so many businesses have been hit adversely and may need help with navigating the CARES Act, the PPP loan process, local funding programs and more,” said Fairfax County EDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins.

“I commend all the attorneys in the region who will generously volunteer their time to help small businesses weather this economic downturn and emerge stronger on the other side.”

New York-based Start Small Think Big is also working with the D.C. Bar Association to offer small business legal assistance in the District.

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