Please read the information below if you are an entrepreneur or inventor seeking intellectual property related legal help or other business related legal help from a lawyer. By clicking the “Apply Now” button at the bottom of this page, you agree to start your application and confirm your understanding of the NC LEAP program process and requirements.

Inventors who are seeking patent-related legal assistance should apply through the Federal Circuit Bar Association National Clearinghouse here.

NC LEAP Application Overview

The NC LEAP application may take 45-60 minutes to complete. Due to the high number of applicants, the NC LEAP application approval process may take up to 6 weeks, between the time you submit your application and the time your case is referred to a volunteer lawyer for legal services.

NC LEAP serves entrepreneurs and inventors whose household income does not exceed 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and / or whose assets do not exceed $8,000. Before beginning this application, please review the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

If you do not fit the financial eligibility criteria for our NC LEAP program and need help finding a lawyer, visit the NCBA Lawyer Referral Service.

NC LEAP does not provide assistance with matters involving litigation or going to court. NC LEAP volunteer attorneys can provide legal services related to the following: General Business Advice, Business Entity Formation (incorporation/business structure), Contract Drafting/Reviewing, Bankruptcy/Debt Workout, Patent, Non-Patent Intellectual Property (Copyright/Trademark/Trade Secrets/Licensing), Employment Advice, Real Estate/Commercial Leasing, Tax, Collaborative Dispute Resolution (problem-solving without going to court)

Before beginning this online NC LEAP application please make sure that you have the following documents ready for upload.  During this application, you will be asked to upload the supporting documents below.  Applications will not be accepted for consideration unless these documents are uploaded or a reason is provided as to why you are unable to include them. NC LEAP accepts uploads in the following formats: PDF, Word, JPG.

1. Proof of Household Income:

You will be asked to upload your most recent available tax returns (if filed) in order for NC LEAP to verify your financial eligibility for the program.

Special Requirements:

  • Married applicant who files taxes separately from spouse: If you are married and file your taxes separately from your spouse, you will need to upload both your tax returns and your spouse’s tax returns.
  • Co-Owner: If you are applying on behalf of co-owner(s) or business partner(s), you must upload proof of household income for all co-owners during this application. If you do not have your co-owner’s tax returns available to submit, do not begin this application.

2. Proof of Government Benefits:

If you indicate that you receive government benefits, you will be asked to upload proof that you receive those benefits. Please have proof ready to submit before you start.

NOTE: Your application will not be accepted for consideration if these documents are not submitted when requested as part of this online application. Do not begin the application if you do not have these documents available and ready for upload. The information disclosed in the application form is confidential.

NC LEAP Program Requirements

Before beginning the NC LEAP application form, please read the NC LEAP Program Requirements:


  • NC LEAP only provides legal assistance for one matter at a time. You will need to re-apply to NC LEAP to receive assistance with additional matters.
  • NC LEAP serves individuals whose income is at or below 300% of Federal Poverty Guidelines and/ or whose assets are not greater than $8,000.
  • NC LEAP does not provide assistance with matters involving litigation or going to court.
  • Submitting your application is not a guarantee that a volunteer attorney will be available to assist you.


  • Because there is no guaranteed timeline for receiving assistance through NC LEAP, you are responsible for seeking other resources as needed to meet any pending deadlines.


  • You (and any co-owners/business partners) may be asked to undergo a phone interview as part of the approval process.
  • The person who conducts your interview is NOT your attorney and will NOT provide legal advice during the interview.
  • Do not contact the interviewer directly: if you have additional info to share post-interview, please email [email protected]


  • While NC LEAP’s services are provided by volunteer attorneys on a pro bono basis, you are responsible for any other costs associated with your matter, such as filing fees. NC LEAP does not provide any financial assistance.


  • All questions, concerns and other communications, including any questions regarding the status of your application or case, should be directed to [email protected]

Failure to follow these instructions may disqualify you from NC LEAP services. By submitting the NC LEAP application form, you agree that you have read, understood and accepted the details of the NC LEAP application process and program requirements.