February 7, 2023
McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC today announced the official launch of its newly expanded Legal Equity Advancement Program (LEAP), which is now open to qualifying Black-owned and Black-controlled businesses in three states.
Now in its third year, LEAP helps Black-owned and Black-controlled businesses overcome barriers to entry that are caused, in part, by institutional racism. Each business chosen for the program is awarded one year of free legal services.
The LEAP Request for Qualifications Portal is now open to interested businesses and will remain open through March 6. Qualifying businesses will then be asked to submit an application for the program.
McNees started LEAP in southcentral Pennsylvania and last year expanded it to include Columbus, Ohio. Starting this year, LEAP now extends to parts of western, central and eastern Pennsylvania, as well as Frederick, Md.
“We are thrilled to again offer this service to our community, and even more excited that we are expanding LEAP so significantly,” said Adeolu Bakare, LEAP co-chair at McNees. “Black-owned and Black-controlled businesses too often face high hurdles to getting started and staying operational over time. Our goal is to help break down these barriers and provide tools for sustainable growth and long-term success.”
LEAP applications are now being accepted from qualified businesses located in the following areas:
- Central Pennsylvania: Adams, Centre, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry and York counties
- Eastern Pennsylvania: Chester and Delaware counties
- Western Pennsylvania: Allegheny County
- Ohio: Delaware, Fairfield and Franklin counties
- Maryland: Frederick County
LEAP awardees gain access to nearly every practice area at McNees to help them with a wide range of business needs, including business organization or reorganization, tax, employment, real estate, intellectual property, Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification, and contract review, among others. In addition, recipients are offered educational webinars/seminars and networking opportunities.
To date 14 Black-owned or Black-controlled businesses have received free legal services through the McNees LEAP program. LEAP clients from 2022 included a Columbus, Ohio-based technology and coding boot camp, an affordable housing development company in York, Pa., and a healthy food and juice bar in Annville, Pa., among others.
“We have been privileged to work with some incredible clients through LEAP over the past few years,” said Esch McCombie, LEAP co-chair at McNees. “Through this program, we’ve been given the opportunity to experience first-hand the incredible wealth of innovative and creative business talent that exists across our communities.”
To learn more about LEAP or to apply for the program, visit www.mcneesleap.com.
McNees is a full-service law firm with more than 140 attorneys representing corporations, associations, institutions and individuals. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Devon, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Scranton, State College and York, Pa.; Columbus, Ohio; Frederick, Md.; and Washington, D.C. McNees is also a member of the ALFA International Global Legal Network.