Legal Assistance

The Legal Food Hub maintains an extensive network of experienced volunteer attorneys pre-screened by CLF. Farmers, food entrepreneurs, and food-related organizations seeking legal assistance contact the Hub through our intake hotline or web form. After assessing each participant’s case for eligibility, CLF reaches out to the attorney network and carefully matches the participant with a skilled lawyer who will provide free legal services.* CLF conducts routine check-ins with attorneys and participants to ensure the representation is going well.

CLF has partnered with the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, the University of Maine Law School, and Yale Law School to create legal manuals on issues specific to farmers and food entrepreneurs to help guide attorneys who join our network. We are also partnering with farm organizations to provide educational opportunities to network attorneys and the farming community.

*You may be responsible for associated costs, such as filing fees, photocopying, postage, travel expenses, and consulting experts or third-party professionals whom you previously authorize the firm to hire and who do not agree to work on a pro bono basis.

Learn more about eligibility »

Participants have used the Legal Food Hub to gain assistance with the following transactional legal matters:

Contracts

  • Drafting contracts, including an animal purchase agreement and a membership agreement for a food co-op

Corporate

  • Drafting and filing articles of incorporation for corporations and co-operatives
  • Drafting an equity investment or joint venture agreement between business owner and potential investors for start-up funding needs
  • Complying with securities laws for new business’s direct public offering (DPO)
  • Filing application to obtain 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Completing a successful merger and acquisition transaction between two small food businesses

Employment

  • Navigating employment law and fiduciary duties with regard to responsibilities of nonprofit Board of Directors

Intellectual Property

  • Applying for a patent for a food recipe
  • Establishing a trademark for a small food business’s name and logo

Litigation

  • Any litigation stemming from a transactional legal issue

Real Estate

  • Carrying out successful real estate transactions to purchase or lease land
  • Negotiating a commercial real estate lease
  • Complying with or enrolling in the Massachusetts Agricultural Preservation Program (APR)
  • Complying with conservation easements

Limited Regulatory Issues

  • Food Safety
  • Labor
  • Renewable energy siting where the energy will be used only on-site

Additional Resources: