Neighborhood Business Initiative

NBI 20th AnniversarySupporting Small Businesses to Promote Equity, Sustain Diverse and Vibrant Neighborhoods and Facilitate Access to Justice for All

The Neighborhood Business Initiative (NBI) is a Goodwin-run pro bono program that brings business-related legal services to the front doors of entrepreneurs and small business owners in California, DC, Massachusetts, New York and the United Kingdom.

Commenced in 2001, soon after the events of 9/11, Goodwin lawyers collaborated with the Economic Justice Project of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association (EJP) and ACCION U.S.A. to help a corner grocery store owned by a Brazilian immigrant secure a working capital loan. The success of this transaction inspired an ongoing partnership to support Boston neighborhood entrepreneurs and small business owners through direct representation, workshops on business law topics and legal clinics.

During its early years, the initiative was a true grassroots operation, including with Goodwin lawyers going on listening tours in Boston neighborhoods like Upham’s Corner in Dorchester, speaking with the local small businesses to understand – from their own perspective – their most pressing needs. In 2005, Goodwin formalized NBI as an in-house legal services organization led by a steering committee of lawyers and professionals. The initiative has since continued to grow internally – expanding to New York in 2013, California in 2016 and DC and London in 2021 – and externally through new community partnerships and neighborhoods.

Today, NBI is led by local committees of Goodwin lawyers and GO! Team members who act on our values of Access to Justice, Community Development and Equity for All and work together to jumpstart entrepreneurs and small business owners in underserved communities.

Our Mission
The mission of NBI is to promote equity and support wealth creation in communities that face discrimination based on race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender and/or LGBTQ+ status by providing pro bono legal services to entrepreneurs and small business owners who are members of, or whose businesses positively impact, such communities.

Please visit the NBI in a Nutshell to learn more about NBI’s work and impact.

Our Community Partners Past & Present

We value our relationships with our community partners, an inspiring group of community development organizations, educational institutions, government agencies and legal services organizations. Through these relationships, we are able to bring legal services and resources directly into neighborhoods and design curriculum that is responsive to the needs of the communities in which we live and work.

Neighborhood Business Initiative Data
By The Numbers

Get in Touch

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