For small business owners, understanding legal forms, contracts and basic business documents are a critical but often missing part of their business plan.

West Virginia University College of Law professor Jena Martin Amerson hopes to change that through a free workshop, “What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: The Legal Pitfalls of Form Contracts for Small Business Owners.” The two-and-a-half-hour workshop will be offered in four locations across the state: Lewisburg (April 17), Charleston (April 20), New Martinsville (May 7) and Berkeley Springs (May 3).

“Sometimes, small business owners look to cut costs and reduce or even forego appropriate legal counsel,” Amerson said. “Many times they turn to the internet for information and templates, but is that information reliable? I want to help small business owners navigate through potential legal pitfalls.”

Workshop attendees will gain an understanding of the kind of mistakes that can arise when using business forms. This will help owners determine when they can draft documents themselves and when they should engage legal help.

Amerson encourages attendees to bring a contract or form for review and discussion.

Pre-registration is recommended. Workshop dates, times and locations are:

Lewisburg: Tuesday, April 17th, 9 a.m., WVU Building at State Fairgrounds. Register by calling 304-647-7408.

Charleston: Friday, April 20, 5 p.m., WVU Kanawha County Extension office, 4700 MacCorkle Avenue. Register by calling 304-720-9573.

Berkeley Springs: Thursday, May 3rd, 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Morgan County Board of Education, 247 Harrison Ave. Register by calling 304-258-8400.

New Martinsville: May7th, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Room 110, W.V. Northern Community College, 141 Main Street. Register by calling 304-455-0934.

The project is funded by a WVU Public Service grant and is a collaboration between the WVU College of Law and the WVU Extension Service.
For more information, call the numbers above or email Jena Martin Amerson,



CONTACT: Ann Bailey Berry
304-293-5691 (office); 304-376-7740 (cell);