Philadelphia LawWorks, a project of Philadelphia VIP, contributes to Philadelphia’s community economic development by ensuring that the legal needs of nonprofits and small business owners are met and by educating clients and the community to prevent legal problems.

LawWorks strengthens Philadelphia communities in two ways. First, we serve the nonprofit groups that are vital in keeping our communities alive and vibrant. Nonprofits and community groups provide essential resources for many people living on society's margins, and make invaluable contributions to the City's overall well-being. In providing pro bono services to community groups and nonprofit organizations, we allow them to direct their funding--they are often operating on thin budgets--toward carrying out their missions and serving their clients. Likewise, in assisting low-income small business owners, we help to strengthen the backbone of our neighborhoods, stimulate commerce, and bring business services directly to neighborhood residents. By taking a two-pronged approach to community economic development, LawWorks is able to assist both nonprofit groups and small businesses that provide essential services to their communities.

LawWorks refers eligible nonprofit organizations and small businesses to lawyers who have agreed to provide pro bono services.  LawWorks also holds seminars, taught by volunteer attorneys, on topics relevant to nonprofits and small businesses. We also partner with small business incubators to provide one-on-one counseling sessions to answer small business owners’ urgent legal questions or nurture start-up ventures.

Through our nonprofit legal assessment program, eligible nonprofits are paired with volunteer attorneys to provide a free legal assessment on issues including corporate governance and tax exemption compliance, employment law and intellectual property.  Volunteer attorneys identify the issues that may affect the legal health of an organization and answer any questions related to an organization's major contracts and leases.  Legal compliance with relevant state and federal law not only offers the nonprofit peace of mind, but also provides assurance to funders, partner agencies and other key stakeholders.

Organizations and small businesses can apply by downloading the application from our website.  See Resources for Clients for legal guides and other helpful tools for nonprofits and small businesses.