America’s small businesses have faced seismic hurdles during the pandemic. First they were hit with COVID-19 restrictions, followed by a bureaucratic labyrinth for government funding meant to keep them and their employees afloat—relief that proved too little, too late for an estimated 200,000 forced to close permanently.
“The pandemic introduced new challenges for small businesses and entrepreneurs, who needed our help more than ever before,” says Tyler McClure, JD ’22. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, she volunteered to help small businesses and nonprofits apply for CARES Act loans. That experience was the spark for McClure to start the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Law Project this year. “I realized other Stanford Law students were also interested in volunteering with small businesses and entrepreneurs, and was fortunate to find a group who were interested in starting the project with me.”
McClure recognized that small business owners often face limited resources—even in the best of times. And legal fees can be prohibitive. Through the new pro bono project, Stanford Law students are helping under-resourced and underrepresented businesses and entrepreneurs to navigate complex legal questions—COVID-19-related and beyond.
VPGE serves the entire graduate student community across all seven schools, including Stanford Law School.