March 22, 2018
Thanks to a West Virginia State Bar IOLTA Legal Assistance grant, Legal Aid now has 4 attorneys and one paralegal located in offices across the state, with a mission to support community and economic development activities in distressed communities, including flood zones, the southern coalfields, and the West Side of Charleston.
The Community and Economic Development Law (CEDLAW) project provides free legal assistance for businesses and nonprofits statewide, and its activities include helping low-income entrepreneurs start their own businesses, and working with nonprofits whose mission benefits low-income communities. The staff also helps individuals remove barriers to employment, assisting them with expungment. consumer law problems, and licensing issues.
Services run the gamut: from forming legal entities, to drafting contracts with third parties, handling tax matters, and protection of intellectual property. Hardy Scraggs, one of the attorneys assigned to the project says, "What is great about this work is that it is so proactive. We know local citizens are the best agents of change in their community, but it's hard to get positive momentum going if you see legal barriers ahead. We can take care of those and clear the path for people who are working toward making West Virginia's economy stronger and its towns and cities stronger and more vibrant."
The CEDLAW team regularly hold workshops and seminars on small business and nonprofit development. If you or your group is interested, please contact paralegal Cindy Withrow at (304) 343-3013, ext. 2115.