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Underrepresented Entrepreneur? Take Advantage of Free Legal Services for Your Startup Business

Instructor: Tom Sharbaugh
Instructor: Britani Peterson

Thursday February 3, 2022

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
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Underrepresented Entrepreneur? Take Advantage of Free Legal Services for Your Startup Business

The Underserved Small Businesses (USB)* Legal Services Program provides free assistance to USB startups and early-stage businesses.  

Attend this informational session about the new Underserved Small Businesses (USB) Legal Services Program, which provides free assistance to USB startups and early-stage businesses in Pennsylvania. Receive information about pro bono legal services that are available to help you navigate the legal requirements and manage risks associated with starting a business, as well as information about the various governmental and corporate programs that offer USBs investments, loans, and preferred-supplier arrangements. 

List of Topics Covered

  • Legal issues, such as choice of entity and timing for formation, that are common to all startups.
  • Common mistakes for startups and early-stage companies.
  • Typical programs that are available to underserved entrepreneurs.

As a result of your participation, you will:

  • Know which legal actions to a new business.
  • Know where to obtain free legal assistance.
  • Know the types of preferential programs that are available to promote underserved entrepreneurs.

*The USB Legal Services Program, which is a new initiative of the Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic (EAC) at Penn State Law, is targeting minority entrepreneurs who are generally categorized as “socially and economically disadvantaged” for purposes of the programs sponsored by the Small Business Administration and other federal, state and local programs as well as by private companies that have announced their own USB programs. These qualifying entrepreneurs include people of color, women, rural residents, veterans and members of the LGBTQ community. 

The Clinic is in its sixth year of providing free legal services to startup and early-stage entrepreneurs throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2021, the Clinic provided services to over 900 clients. The Clinic’s services include a wide range of business-related legal services, such as formation, agreements among owners, issuance of equity and operational agreements and documents, such as terms of use and privacy statements.

Potential EAC clients can apply for assistance by submitting the online form at https://happyvalley.launchbox.psu.edu/penn-state-law- entrepreneur-assistance-clinic-submission-form/

 

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Meet the instructor

Tom Sharbaugh is a Professor of Practice at Penn State Law where he teaches business-related courses and also serves as the director of the Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic at Penn State Law, which he started approximately six years ago. Before joining Penn State Law, Tom was the firm-wide managing partner at the Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP law firm, based in the firm’s Philadelphia office. In this position, which he held for 15 years, Tom was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the global law firm with more than 3,100 personnel. As a partner in the firm's Business & Finance Practice Group, he represented a wide variety of clients in transactional and corporate matters, including private equity funds in M&A and investment transactions. He has a particular interest in start-up and early-stage businesses and their funding. He has written a number of articles and delivered many presentations on the legal issues confronting small businesses and the securities laws applicable to capital raising through unregistered offerings.

Meet the instructor

Britani Peterson is a staff attorney in the Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic where she is engaged in the Clinic’s Underserved Small Business Legal Services Program. Britani is a recent graduate of Penn State Law, where she concentrated her studies in startup and early-stage businesses and underrepresented groups, including women and minorities. Britani’s experience with the Clinic spanned two years during law school. In addition, Britani authored a seminar paper that considered the feasibility of starting and maintaining a minority business enterprise accelerator in a metropolitan area. Since joining the Clinic, she has given a number of presentations on the investment, loan and preferred-supplier programs that are sponsored by governmental entities for disadvantaged entrepreneurs.

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