Vermont Law and Graduate School's Entrepreneurial Legal Laboratory (VLSell) has introduced a new legal assistance program supporting businesses impacted by recent flooding.
Under this initiative, VLSell has coordinated with volunteer attorneys to provide free legal assistance and education to businesses navigating the legal complexities of flood recovery.
VLSell has partnered in this initiative with New Orleans-based Emergency Legal Responders, the only organization in the U.S. focused on disaster rights advocacy. Founded by VLGS graduate Caitlin Morgenstern, the organization will train volunteer attorneys to assist with:
- Applying for FEMA and Small Business Association (SBA) loans
- Appealing FEMA loans
- Negotiating insurance claims and leases
- Managing appeals for FEMA applications
- Educating around other legal matters pertinent to recovery
The program will reach businesses where they are, with in-person educational meetings in impacted areas as recovery unfolds. Upon request, the program will join business and informational town meetings to let community members know about the legal support available as they recover.
In response to the Vermont Bar Association’s (VBA) call for attorneys, VLSell’s program also aims to triage businesses and individuals with specific legal needs to be matched with attorneys through the VBA, and the program will fund up to 10 hours of legal assistance to each eligible business.
“Recognizing the immediate needs of Vermont's business community following the floods, we realized that VLSell's existing resources could be leveraged to offer substantial assistance to those affected,” Nicole Killoran, director of VLSell, said. “By remodeling our pre-existing program and offering legal support during this critical time, we aim to help the community recover and rebuild effectively.”
This initiative exemplifies VLSell's commitment to helping small businesses with legal support, an endeavor it's been dedicated to since 2018.
"Although the circumstances are tragic, I welcome the opportunity for ELR and VLGS to partner, combining our expertise and services for the good of the Vermont community," Morgenstern said.
Businesses impacted by the 2023 floods in need of legal assistance can request support by submitting an intake form at this link.
Homeowners, renters and businesses impacted by floods seeking legal assistance can find support through the VBA program here or at vtbar.org. Attorneys interested in volunteering for these programs can sign up at this link.
About Vermont Law and Graduate School: Vermont Law and Graduate School, a private, independent institution, is home to a law school that offers ABA-accredited residential and online hybrid JD programs and a graduate school that offers master’s degrees and certificates in multiple disciplines, including programs offered by the Maverick Lloyd School for the Environment, the Center for Justice Reform and other graduate-level programs emphasizing the intersection of environmental justice, social justice and public policy. Both the law and graduate schools strongly feature experiential clinical and field work learning. For more information, visit vermontlaw.edu, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.