#BLACKCAPITALMATTERS GIFT LEGAL FUND
Elizabeth L. Carter, Esq., LLC is one of very few Black-women owned securities law firms, and the only securities law firm with a specific intent to service Black and Afro-Latinx entrepreneurs. As such, the Firm has made it its mission to find creative and innovative ways to counter the unfortunate reality of insufficient business capital that plague so many of our underrepresented businesses.
When a business decides to raise money from private investors, it will need the proper legal support to avoid costly delays, or worse, civil and criminal penalties. This type of legal support is called securities law. Securities law is a complex area of business law that ensures the legal compliance of raising capital from investors. However, this complex law carries a hefty cost and is often out of the budget for the average entrepreneur.
This is especially true for Black and other underrepresented entrepreneurs who lack the necessary startup capital, sometimes called the "friends and family round," to pay for the proper legal and other professional support that is necessary for the formation and capitalization of their businesses. Systematic disinvestment and unequal financing by banks, venture capital, and other traditional funding sources have neglected underrepresented business owners, especially Black entrepreneurs. This is especially true during times of economic crisis. For instance, 41% of Black-owned businesses have permanently closed their doors due to COVID-19 shutdowns, making it the largest business loss of any group. What makes matters worse is that these numbers are expected to rise in 2021.
Elizabeth L. Carter, Esq., LLC, is committed to increasing the racial and gender diversity of the field of securities law by training other law students of color, and providing culturally-competent and representative securities legal services to underrepresented entrepreneurs who face unique challenges to raising capital and gaining access to professional support services for their enterprises.
Elizabeth L. Carter, Esq., LLC, is also committed to creating an ecosystem of wrap-around professional services that are uniquely designed for underrepresented entrepreneurs, including partnering with financial institutions that have a mission to serve Black and Latinx communities; teaming up with Black-owned crowdfunding marketing firms to help Black businesses build the crowd that is necessary to raise much needed funds ; and collaborating with Black-owned crowdfunding portals that intentionally serve Black founders so that these Black entrepreneurs are not left behind in the race of capital raising.
We also have lower rates than the typical securities law firm, and provide alternative payment structures such as flat-fees and monthly installment payment plans for our clients, all designed to counter the problem of inaccessible securities legal services that is prevalent among Black and other underrepresented entrepreneurs raising capital.
The securities legal industry remains heavily dominated, led, and controlled by White-owned firms, especially those owned by White men. For instance, Black attorneys represent only 3.3% of law firm attorneys within the U.S. despite representing over 13% of the entire U.S. population. This is in stark contrast to White attorneys who represent 82% of law firms in the U.S., with White men representing a majority at 55%. These numbers are even more stark for women of color, namely Black women, making up only 1.73% of all attorneys.
Black women entrepreneurs and other underrepresented groups need representative professional support in order to help solve their funding and resource problem. Providing representative professional support to underrepresented businesses contributes to a fair, just, and democratic financial ecosystem. Secondly, racial, gender, and other identity representation promotes cultural sensitivity within business and financial markets by providing a deeper understanding of the systemic challenges facing underrepresented communities, and therefore, are able to provide more viable solutions.
Black attorneys represent only 3.3% of law firm attorneys in the US
Black women account for only 1.73% of that that number
My experience at the firm has given me not only a substantive internship experience but a passion and commitment to focusing my legal career on building Black and Brown entrepreneurs.
I am so happy to be a part of a law firm that prides itself on providing accessible legal services to underrepresented businesses. I value the experience I have obtained during my time at the firm, working to directly impact underrepresented communities. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to work with a Black woman attorney in this space. Black women attorneys influence, impact and lead the way to create legacies.