Wiggin And Dana’s $10M Plan To Diversify Biz Ownership

Excerpt from Law360:

Last year, as worldwide unrest over George Floyd’s murder fueled demands for equity and accountability in multiple professions, Connecticut-based law firm Wiggin and Dana LLP publicly committed to provide $10 million in free legal services in 10 years for businesses owned by people from historically marginalized communities.

One acknowledged client is Courtroom5, an online subscription platform with legal resources for people stuck representing themselves in civil litigation.

Courtroom5 was founded by Durham, North Carolina-based former professors Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone, who Ebron said draw from their own experiences with foreclosures, debt collection, personal injury and related matters to help others.

“We represented ourselves, and as fairly educated folks, we were able to figure it out over time,” Ebron told Law360. “But we just had no idea, going in, how complex civil litigation was, and we saw a lot of people who didn’t have our educational advantages and were not getting a fair opportunity to be heard in court.”

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Ebron and Slone, both Black women, worked with Kipperman and his colleagues to set up fundraising structures, which Ebron said made it easier to prepare data rooms for investors, issue SAFE notes — documents that help startups raise seed capital — and securities and navigate board consent policies. She added that it now pays for Wiggin and Dana’s services, which were otherwise “billed” to the initiative per the attorneys’ standard counting of work hours.

“They very quickly made themselves indispensable, so we were happy to pay them,” she said.

— Sameer Rao, Law360

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