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Legal Resources

From time to time, an artist may need to seek legal consultation or research arts-related legal matters. The resources below serve as a way to begin that process. 


 

Legal Resources        Back to Top

 

NATIONAL LEGAL RESOURCES

 

Dancers Forum Compact 

Model agreement that articulates and mediates the working artistic relationship between dancers and choreographers.

Email: [email protected]

 

Copyright Information from American Library Association (ALA) 

The ALA site offers a wide range of free timely information on developments in the field of copyright law.

 

Creative Commons 

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that offers free copyright licenses and tools for sharing creative work.

 

Freelancers Union Contract Creator 

Online tool for creating an independent contractor contract.


National list of Volunteer Lawyers in the Arts (VLA) programs

These organizations provide a broad range of free and low-cost legal services and educational programs addressing the needs of artists, small arts-related businesses and cultural organizations. Most are nonprofit organizations, while others are housed with arts councils, arts services organizations, bar associations or business for the arts programs.

 

TIME'S UP Legal Defense Fund

Helps defray legal and public relations costs in select cases for those who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace. 

Email: [email protected]

 

Trans Lifeline Microgrant

The Trans Lifeline Microgrants program can help you change your legal name and update your government identification documents. If you aren’t cisgender, you are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Email: [email protected]

 

A Visual Artist's Guide to Estate Planning

The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation’s free e-book designed to assist artists in planning their estates.

 

 

LEGAL RESOURCES STATE-BY-STATE        Back to Top

ALABAMA

LEGAL SERVICE ALABAMA  

Montgomery, AL 

Phone:1-866-456-4995 

Phone En Español: 1-888-835-3505

Email: [email protected]

Legal Services Alabama (LSA) is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to providing access to justice and free quality civil legal aid and assistance to educate and empower Alabama's low-income community from nine offices located in: Anniston, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Opelika, Selma, and Tuscaloosa.

SOUTH ALABAMA VOLUNTEER LAWYERS PROGRAM 

Mobile, AL

Toll-Free: (855) 997-2857

Fax: (251) 438-1982

Email: [email protected]

The South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program (SAVLP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free legal assistance in certain civil matters to low-income residents of Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, and Clarke counties. If you think you may qualify as low-income under the program’s financial guidelines, please contact SAVLP.  

 

CALIFORNIA

CALIFORNIA LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS 

Various Offices (See below)

Phone: (888) 775-8995  

Email: [email protected]

The Lawyer Referral Service of California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA) operates as a lawyer referral service under the authority of the State Bar of California. CLA offers referral services only for creative artists, arts organizations and those with arts-related legal matters, such as: copyright, contract drafting, review and negotiation, nonprofit organization issues, landlord/tenant, organizational tax (not individual tax), employee/independent contractor, mediation and arbitration, and more.

REGIONAL OFFICES:

BERKELEY

Tel: 888-775-8995 Fax: 510-201-9957

e-mail: [email protected]

LOS ANGELES 

Tel: 310-207-0001 

email: [email protected]

SACRAMENTO OFFICE

Phone: (916) 442-6210 Fax: (916) 441-1170

e-mail: [email protected]

SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE

Phone: (415) 775-7200 Fax: (415) 775-1143

e-mail: [email protected]

 

COLORADO

COLORADO ATTORNEYS FOR THE ARTS 

Denver, CO 

Telephone: (720) 428-6720

Email: [email protected]

Colorado Attorneys for the Arts (CAFTA) is a pro bono legal referral service connecting limited-income artists and creative entities to volunteer attorneys.

 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

WASHINGTON AREA LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS (WALA)

Phone:  (202) 289-4440 

Email via website form

WALA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides access to education, advocacy andlegal services through workshops and seminars, legal clinics and pro-bono referral services for creatives and cultural organizations.

 

FLORIDA

LEGALLINK PROGRAM 

Locust Projects 

Miami, FL 

Phone: (305) 576-8570

email: [email protected] 

LegalLink is a program dedicated to providing artists with affordable and pro bono legal services, grants and educational opportunities. LegalLink services are available to Locust Projects members at the pARTners ($60) level or above.

 

GEORGIA

GEORGIA LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS  

Atlanta, GA 

Phone: (404) 873-3911 

Fax: (404) 817-6827  

Email: [email protected]

GLA, through a full schedule of educational seminars and classes; a resource library, and a network of over 500 volunteer and member attorneys, provides legal assistance to musicians, songwriters, photographers, filmmakers, painters, poets, graphic designers, actors, theatre companies, dance troupes, museums, and artists from many other disciplines. 

HAWAII

LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF HAWAII HONOLULU OFFICE 

Honolulu, HI 

Email: [email protected]

The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii is a public interest, not-for-profit law firm whose mission is to achieve fairness and justice through legal advocacy, outreach and education for those in need.

 

ILLINOIS

LAWYERS FOR THE CREATIVE ARTS 

Chicago, IL 

Telephone: (312) 649-4111 

Fax: (312) 944- 2195 

Lawyers for the Creative Arts provides free legal service to financially eligible clients in all areas of the arts— the visual, performing, entertainment, literary, arts education and more.

 

LOUISIANA

Entertainment Law Legal Assistance (ELLA)  

Tulane University Law School

New Orleans, LA 

Phone: (504) 865-5939

Email: [email protected]

The Entertainment Law Legal Assistance Project (ELLA) is a pro bono project within the TLS Community Service Program and provides free legal services for low-to-moderate income artists residing in the New Orleans area.

MAINE

MAINE LAWYER REFERRAL & INFORMATION SERVICE

Main State Bar Association

Phone:(207) 622-7523

Toll-free: (800) 860-1460

Fax: (207) 623-0083 

The Lawyer Referral Service of the Maine State Bar Association connects people who have legal questions or are in need of legal services with qualified Maine attorneys. 

 

MAINE VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS 

Phone: (207) 619-2787

Email: [email protected]

Provides access to effective legal counsel for artists and organizations with limited financial resources, educates broadly on arts-related business and legal issues, offers mediation services to facilitate non-litigious dispute resolution, supports artists, and fosters cooperative relationships between the artistic and legal communities.

 

MARYLAND

MARYLAND LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS 

Baltimore, MD 

Email via website form

A nonprofit dedicated to protecting Maryland artists’ legal rights through pro bono legal referrals and education.

 

MASSACHUSETTS 

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS OF MASSACHUSETTS 

Boston, MA

Email: [email protected]

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts provides legal services, advice, and educational programming to artists and cultural organizations in Massachusetts. The VLA accomplishes its mission through the work of a panel of more than 500 attorneys who volunteer their time and services to provide legal counsel, education, and organizational support to the Massachusetts arts community. The program serves individual artists, musical groups, and cultural organizations.

 

MINNESOTA

Pro Bono Attorney Request 

Email: [email protected] 

As the Minnesota Chapter of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Springboard is pleased to connect artists in need of legal assistance to an attorney. Referrals are made on a case-by-case basis for arts-related questions only.

 

MISSOURI

KANSAS CITY VOLUNTEER LAWYERS & ACCOUNTANTS FOR THE ARTS  

Kansas City, Missouri  

Phone: (816) 974-8522

KCVLAA provides a critical link between members of the legal, business and arts communities

ST. LOUIS

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS AND ACCOUNTANTS FOR THE ARTS  

St. Louis, MO 63112

Phone: (314) 863-6930

Fax: (314) 863-6932

Email: [email protected] 

St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts offers legal and accounting assistance to artists and arts organizations with arts-related legal and accounting problems.

NEW YORK

LAWYERS ALLIANCE FOR NEW YORK  

New York, NY  

Telephone: (212) 219-1800

Fax: (212) 941-7458

Email: [email protected]  

Lawyers Alliance for New York provides corporate and tax legal services for not-for-profits in New York City and helps organizations to incorporate and apply to the IRS for 501©(3) charitable status.

LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF NEW YORK 

Phone: (212)-577-3300

Through Civil, Criminal Defense, and Juvenile Rights Practices, they offer legal expertise to vulnerable New Yorkers in over 300,000 legal matters each and every year. 

NEW YORK CITY BAR ASSOCIATION - LEGAL HOTLINE  

New York, NY 10036 

Phone: (212) 382.6600

The City Bar Justice Center’s Legal Hotline offers legal information, advice, and referrals to low-income New Yorkers who cannot afford a private attorney or do not have access to legal representation. The Hotline can assist you with civil legal issues, including matrimonial and family law, housing law, domestic violence, bankruptcy, and debt collection and benefits.

VOLUNTEER LAWYER FOR THE ARTS 

New York, NY 

Phone: 212.319.ARTS (2787) ext. 1

Email: [email protected]  

Established in 1969, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is the pioneer in arts-related legal aid and educational programs about the legal and business issues that affect artist and arts organizations.

 

PENNSYLVANIA

PHILADELPHIA VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS  

Philadelphia, PA 

Telephone: (215) 790-3822

Email: [email protected]

A resource for artists, arts, culture + heritage organizations, collectives, makers, inventors, startups and more, PVLA provides pro-bono and low cost legal assistance, educational programs and business counseling to secure a thriving culture in the region and the innovation economy statewide

GREATER PITTSBURGH ARTS COUNCIL - PITTSBURGH VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS 

Pittsburgh, PA 

Phone:  412-391-2060 x229

Low-income artists can apply for free legal assistance for an arts-related legal need. Use this service to help you draft contracts, answer intellectual property questions, and more. Be sure to check the income guidelines before applying!

 

PUERTO RICO

Ayuda Legal Hurácan María: 

FEMA Appeals Model in Spanish / Apelaciones a FEMA: Modelos 

General Disaster Information / Ayuda para desastres

 

TENNESSEE

ARTS & BUSINESS COUNCIL OF GREATER NASHVILLE 

Nashville, TN 

Phone: (615) 460 – 8274

Email: [email protected]

The Arts & Business Council connects artists and arts organizations with the services, skills, and opportunities they need to thrive from their creative endeavors. To this end, the Arts & Business Council provides pro bono legal services to low-income artists of all disciplines, as well as legal and business assistance to emerging nonprofit arts organizations through the Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts (VLPA) program.

 

TEXAS 

TEXAS ACCOUNTANTS & LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS  

Austin, TX 

Phone: (800) 526-8252 (toll-free)

Email: [email protected] 

Website: www.talarts.org 

TALA matches low-income artists and small budget arts nonprofits with volunteer attorneys and accountants to assist with arts-related legal and financial matters, including: non-profit arts organization incorporation; contract drafting, negotiation and review; estate planning for artists; copyright; trademark; IP licensing; arts-related landlord/tenant issues; demand letters; dispute resolution / arts mediation; financial reviews; chart of accounts; financial statements; annual budgets; application for tax exempt status; form 990; and employment taxes.

 

UTAH

UTAH LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS 

Email: [email protected]

Utah Lawyers for the Arts (ULA) refers qualifying artists and art organizations to attorneys licensed in the State of Utah who provide free or low cost services in art-related matters, such as setting up nonprofit entities and seeking tax exempt status, negotiating various art-related contracts, handling contract disputes involving art or art services, and the censorship of art, among others. 

 

WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS 

Seattle, WA 

Phone: (206) 328-7053

Email: [email protected]

Washington Lawyers for the Arts (WLA) is a nonprofit service organization dedicated to supporting the arts in Washington state by creating alliances and making legal resources accessible to artists and arts organizations of all disciplines.

 

WEST VIRGINIA

LEGAL AID OF WEST VIRGINIA 

Charleston, WV

Phone: 1-866-255-4370

Legal Aid of West Virginia provides civil legal aid and advocacy services for low-income residents, seniors, victims of domestic violence, and the disabled.

 

WISCONSIN

ARTS WISCONSIN ARTS SECTOR LEGAL RESOURCES  

Email: [email protected] 

Arts Wisconsin partners with the State Bar’s Pro Bono program to seek pro bono legal assistance. They make every effort to find representation, although the State Bar doesn’t guarantee assistance. 

 

Image: Dannielle Tegeder (Fellow in Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts '15)

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