Barre, VT – Small business owners in Vermont who were impacted by July’s historic flooding are learning about how they can get free legal advice to move their businesses forward.

The Vermont Law & Graduate School’s Entrepreneurial Legal Laboratory (VLSell) has received grant funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and they’re using it to pay local attorneys to offer free training sessions and legal advice to people impacted by the flood. The program has helped more than a dozen small business owners so far, but can also help homeowners and renters.

Some of the things attorneys with the program are teaching people about include negotiating insurance claims and leases, as well as managing FEMA applications and appeals.

“They just need a little help getting through these legal questions,” said Brian Bailey, an attorney participating in the program. “You’ve got a lease and you’re not sure what to do with it because the property was destroyed, or you know, whatever the case may be, you need help navigating a FEMA claim … It’s great to see all the people coming together, helping each other out, lifting each other up.”

People with VLSell are aiming to have two in-person legal aid clinics down the road. They’re planning one session for September 2 in Barre, and another for September 9 in Ludlow. They note the deadline for Vermonters to apply for FEMA and SBA assistance is September 12, which adds importance to the timing of the clinics.

Officials with VLSell say they hope to hold the Barre session at the Aldrich Public Library, and hope to hold the Ludlow session at the Fletcher Memorial Library. Times are yet to be decided.