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BASF's Lawyer Referral and Information Service to Offer ADA Compliance Workshop at San Francisco Small Business Week Event


May 14, 2012 - Did you know that small businesses make up 98% of all the businesses in San Francisco?  To celebrate that fact and provide a forum to help small businesses thrive, San Francisco launches its 7th Annual San Francisco Small Business Week today.  A sold-out gala kick-off event begins tonight at the Metreon in San Francisco, where more than 1,000 small business owners and community leaders will come together and mingle among 31 local restaurateurs providing savory food and drink. 

All week long there are networking events and celebration but the middle of the week is reserved for educational seminars and workshops.  Business owners can choose between 50 free sessions designed specifically for small business owners, one of which is how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and prevent the so-called “drive-by” lawsuit.  There have been over 300 lawsuits in San Francisco alone, with a rash of these lawsuits hitting mom and pop shops in the Mission District, Noe Valley and the Richmond, notably on Clement Street.  The lawsuits can cost businesses tens of thousands of dollars and in some instances have caused businesses to close. 

Small businesses have been sued because a person in a wheelchair could not enter the business -- or could tell from “driving by” that they could not enter the business.  Businesses have also been sued for restrooms and counters that are not accessible to persons with disabilities.  “Part of the problem is that business owners are not as informed about the ADA as they need to be.  Education around this issue is the best insurance policy a business can buy, “ says Carole Conn, Director of the Public Service Programs at the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) of The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF).

Conn says that “all too often businesses call for legal help once they have been sued for violations of the ADA that could have been corrected.  Getting an evaluation by an Accessibility Specialist and learning about the resources available to small business are necessary steps to minimize exposure.” 
In collaboration with San Francisco’s Office of Small Business and the Board of Supervisors, BASF’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service has begun an entire program around ADA Compliance that educates businesses and commercial landlords alike about the ADA. 

The ADA Compliance seminar takes place the afternoon of Wednesday May 16 and will cover the State and Federal ADA laws, the benefits of using an Accessibility Specialist and low-cost solutions to comply with the ADA.

More information about San Francisco Small Business Week.

More information about BASF’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service.

The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of over 8,000 attorneys, law students and legal professionals in the Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF is one of the largest and most dynamic metropolitan bar associations in the U.S., with a long and distinguished record of community action, public service and service to the legal profession.

Questions about media relations, BASF issues currently in the news, San Francisco Attorney magazine, marketing and communications:

Ann Murphy, Director of Communications & Public Relations
(415) 782-9000 x8792

For general communications inquiries:

Sayre Happich, Assistant Director of Communications & Public Relations
(415) 782-9000 x8104