A widely available and useful legal resource for new to export businesses is the Export Legal Assistance Network (ELAN). In this innovative program, established by the Federal Bar Association with assistance from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s International Trade Program, lawyers from the Federal Bar Association linkvolunteer to provide an initial legal consultation free of charge to companies just beginning to export. Under ELAN, knowledgeable lawyers help new to export companies learn the legal aspects of international trade. ELAN has regional coordinators throughout the United States, each with three or more attorneys on tap.
In your first meeting, the volunteer ELAN lawyer will help you identify the key legal issues facing your company in exporting. The volunteer will explain basic contractual requirements, taxes and regulations and give you introductory information on other necessary resources, such as banks, freight forwarders, insurance companies, and state and federal programs to expand exports. Your consultation will last long enough to identify the legal issues facing your product or service.
This free consultation is meant to provide a reasonably detailed overview of the legal issues involved in exporting. You are then free to handle the next steps yourself, or to hire an attorney to complete them for you.
You can locate an ELAN lawyer nearest you by calling the Trade Information Center at 1-800-USA-TRAD(E). For more information on ELAN services, you can also access the ELAN homepage.