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Bar News - December 15, 2006

Small Business Counseling Group Seeks Volunteers



Im not an attorney, but.


How many times I have had to use that disclaimer when counseling start-ups and small businesses as a member of SCORE, the volunteer, non-profit, SBA-affiliated small-business counseling association.


My advice to clients, based on business experience only, is limited to explaining some very basic risks that may exist, possible costs, what others have traditionally done, etc. while emphasizing that they must ultimately make their own decisions and suggesting that they should consult an attorney. But, for various reasons, that isnt always an option available to some clients.


Attorney-members of SCORE can provide the basic information clients may need about the law and the options they might take with the attendant risks. Thats why the Merrimack Valley Chapter of SCORE, one of 400 chapters across the country, is seeking attorney-members, working or retired, who are interested in volunteer work, have some spare time, and are looking for ways to stay involved and give back to the community.


Most logically, you might choose to be a SCORE specialist member who only comes to a case to provide broad legal counsel to clients or preliminary information about risks and major options available to them, not detailed legal counsel. Examples: Should a client consider an LLC or an S Corp? Is it clear who owns the business the client informally began? Should the client copyright or patent a product? No document preparation or written opinions are required. The organization makes it clear that SCORE clients make all decisions themselves.


Or, another option is that you might decide to try a slightly different tack and, depending on your background, give broad business advice to clients, as most of our members do.


Either way, its an opportunity to share your valuable experience and skills with local entrepreneurs who, otherwise, might not have access to professional legal advice. (And yes, we do have US government liability protection.)


You can check SCORE-Manchester out online at, or call me at 603-471-2838. Ill be happy to send information or get together for a cup of coffee. No obligation. Please consider SCORE as your volunteer activity. Its a very satisfying opportunity.


If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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