Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Five Black-owned businesses receive free yearlong legal services from local firm

Asha Banks, CEO of CheerNotes, a recipient of the services

To McNees Wallace and Nurick LLC, a Harrisburg-based law firm, representation matters—especially legal representation.

They’ve recently awarded five local Black-owned businesses with a year’s worth of free legal services as part of their new Legal Equity Advancement Program (LEAP).

“As attorneys, we have a moral obligation to do what we can to make sure everyone is provided with legal representation,” Adeolu Bakare, an attorney at McNees and leader of the program, said during the application process in December.

McNees attorneys announced the winners at the “Black is Beautiful Expo” held by Urban Revolution Marketing & Branding on Feb. 26.

The awarded businesses are:

  • Blazin J’s—a restaurant in downtown Lancaster specializing in Nashville hot chicken
  • CheerNotes Co.—a Harrisburg greeting card company focused on diversity
  • MOVERSFORMEPA LLC—a Mechanicsburg-based residential and commercial moving company servicing Central Pennsylvania
  • Na’Toria Marketing & Design Solutions—a Harrisburg marketing company focused on providing services to minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Stick N’ Move Boxing—a nonprofit providing mentoring and instruction in boxing to low-income students in York

According to McNees officials, last year’s events around the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis spurred them on to create a program that would address systemic racism.

The only criteria for businesses to apply for the program was that they are located in south-central Pennsylvania, are more than 50% Black-owned and could not otherwise afford legal services.

Legal assistance for the five businesses can include things like tax work, setting up entities and help with insurance or real estate needs, explained attorney Esch McCombie, who leads the LEAP program with Bakare. There’s a $50,000 retainer for each client for services.

They hope to offer the program again in future years, the attorneys said.

“I’m so honored to be a part of this first LEAP cohort,” said Asha Banks, CEO of CheerNotes. “The opportunity to work with a firm that really cares about the community and is providing access that I can’t imagine having otherwise is truly a blessing.”

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