Rolando is building stronger communities. As a staff attorney in our Community Development Project, Rolando offers essential legal support to clients who are starting their own businesses, non-profit organizations and tenant groups seeking to create affordable housing. With his help, hardworking New Yorkers now have the opportunity to make a life for themselves, all while creating resilient neighborhoods along the way.
Starting your own business is hard. Between obtaining licenses and permits, and dealing with tax issues, leasing, and contracts, there are any number of legal pitfalls that New Yorkers can fall into during the process. And as Rolando explains, his clients can be at even greater risk than most. “Many of the clients we work with are immigrants, and a lot of them don’t speak English as their first language.” What’s more, “they aren’t aware of the legal issues” that can arise during the process. Thankfully, Rolando is there to help guide them through. By giving his clients an insight into the complex ins-and-outs of business law, Rolando is “helping put them on the path towards economic self-sufficiency.”
Like many of the units at The Legal Aid Society, our Community Development Project relies on the help of our pro bono volunteers to serve our clients. For Rolando and his colleagues, pro bono attorneys allow the Project “to service more clients and help them with specialized legal issues.” Pro bono attorneys offer their expertise in complex, niche areas of law where our clients need help – areas like trademark law, intellectual property, and tax issues. Our partners are essential to the work that Rolando does, offering clients an unmatched depth and breadth of legal expertise.
Rolando’s work has a life-changing impact on his clients. A few years ago, Rolando worked with a group of five Mexican immigrants who were interested in starting their own business. The five partners worked for years to save money, “almost every dime they made” as Rolando recalls, and, after attending a community workshop held by the Community Development Project, they reached out to Rolando for help. Rolando and his colleagues, with assistance from pro bono volunteers, helped these partners set up every aspect of their business, from incorporating, to leasing a storefront, to employment matters, and more. The clients successfully opened the Quechol Market in Williamsburg, and have been so successful that they have opened a second location with plans for even more in the years to come. For Rolando, this is why his job is so fulfilling. Rolando worked to help these clients, seeing them go from “saving their money, to living out their dream.” With Rolando’s help, even more New Yorkers are living out their dreams, every single day.
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