Michael Wood, Manager, Education & Workforce
The COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying economic fallout have had a profound and devastating impact on small businesses throughout the country. Fortunately, corporate leaders, including Thompson & Knight, have spearheaded efforts to throw small business owners lifelines to help keep doors open and staff on the payroll.
With humble beginnings in Dallas, Thompson & Knight – now an international, full-service law firm with offices in four countries – has a particular empathy for small businesses. The firm was eager to leverage its own resources to support small businesses struggling as a result of the current economic crisis.
In April, Thompson & Knight launched “This Is Our Town.” Through partnerships with local business associations, the firm-wide initiative promises pro-bono legal assistance to small businesses across the firm’s national footprint. To qualify for the program, small businesses must simply be experiencing difficulties related to the current pandemic and economic crisis.
The effort builds upon Thompson & Knight’s established commitment to community service. In 2019, the firm logged more than 5,000 pro-bono hours. In Dallas, Thompson & Knight offers pro-bono support to the South Dallas Legal Clinic, the Housing Crisis Center, and the SPCA of Texas, to name a few. For its efforts to serve the community, the company received the Silver Award from the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program in 2018.
Unsurprisingly, “This Is Our Town” has garnered tremendous support among Thompson & Knight’s attorneys, more than 50 of whom volunteered their services to support small businesses in need.
“The response from our attorneys and staff was tremendous,” said Kelby Luther, Thompson & Knight’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Our people wanted to help and make a difference, so we were eager to find a way to give back and support our community.”
Since “This Is Our Town” launched, Thompson & Knight’s attorneys have primarily assisted small business owners facing eviction due to hardship settle disputes with their landlords. Attorneys have lent their support to small businesses whose operations have shifted dramatically since the pandemic began through assistance helping organize and submit applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, establishing 501(c)3 organizations, and registering trademarks.
The program has been a positive experience for the firm’s attorneys, as well, giving associates the opportunity to collaborate with attorneys in various practices and offices.
In Dallas, Thompson & Knight has coordinated with the Dallas Regional Chamber, the Dallas Entrepreneurship Center, and Downtown Dallas, Inc. to identify qualifying small businesses. The firm continues to receive referrals from these organizations, and intends to sustain the program as the crisis continues to affect small businesses across the country.