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. 

COVID-19 LEGAL RESOURCES

Advance NYC Pro Bono Office Hours Registration – Weekly pro bono virtual office hours hosted on Zoom. These hour-long sessions will be led by an Advance NYC Senior Team member and provide a chance for the organization to explore fundraising topics in an informal and collaborative setting.

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.

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

ALABAMA

Legal Services Alabama | Montgomery, AL
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.
Phone:1-866-456-4995 
Phone En Español: 1-888-835-3505
Email: [email protected]

South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program | Mobile, AL
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.
Toll-Free: (855) 997-2857
Fax: (251) 438-1982
Email: [email protected]

CALIFORNIA

California Lawyers for the Arts | Various Locations
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.
Phone: (888) 775-8995
Email: [email protected]
Regional Officces:
BERKELEY – Phone: 888-775-8995 | Fax: 510-201-9957 | email: [email protected]
LOS ANGELES – Phone: 310-207-0001 | email: [email protected]
SACRAMENTO – Phone: 916-442-6210 | Fax: (916) 441-1170 | email: [email protected]
SAN FRANCISCO – Phone: 415-775-7200 | Fax: 415-775-1143 | email: [email protected]

COLORADO

Colorado Attorneys for the Arts | Denver, CO
Colorado Attorneys for the Arts (CAFTA) is a pro bono legal referral service connecting limited-income artists and creative entities to volunteer attorneys.
Telephone: (720) 428-6720
Email: [email protected]

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA)
WALA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides access to education, advocacy and legal services through workshops and seminars, legal clinics and pro-bono referral services for creatives and cultural organizations.
Phone: (202) 289-4440
Email via website form

FLORIDA

LegalLink Program | Miami, FL
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.
Phone: (305) 576-8570
Email: [email protected]

GEORGIA

Georgia Lawyers for the Arts | Atlanta, GA
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.
Phone: (404) 873-3911
Fax: (404) 817-6827
Email: [email protected]

HAWAII

Legal Aid Society of Hawaii Honolulu Office | Honolulu, HI
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.
Email: [email protected]

ILLINOIS

Lawyers for the Creative Arts | Chicago, IL
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.
Telephone: (312) 649-4111
Fax: (312) 944- 2195

LOUISIANA

The ELLA Project | New Orleans, LA
Dedicated to the joy and beauty of the culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, The Ella Project provides pro bono legal assistance, arts business services, and advocacy to our cultural community.
Phone: 504-250-0429
Email: [email protected]

MAINE

Maine Lawyer Referral & Information Service
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.
Phone: (207) 622-7523
Toll-free: (800) 860-1460
Fax: (207) 623-0083

MARYLAND

Maryland Lawyers for the Arts | Baltimore, MD
A nonprofit dedicated to protecting Maryland artists’ legal rights through pro bono legal referrals and education.
Email via website form

MASSACHUSETTS 

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts | Boston, MA
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.
Email: [email protected]

MINNESOTA

Springboard for the Arts Legal Assistance
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.
Email: [email protected]

MISSOURI

Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers & Accountants for the Arts | Kansas City, MO
KCVLAA provides a critical link between members of the legal, business and arts communities.
Phone: (816) 974-8522

Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts | St. Louis, MO
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.
Phone: (314) 863-6930
Fax: (314) 863-6932
Email: [email protected]

NEW YORK

Lawyers Alliance for New York | New York, NY
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(c)(3) charitable status.
Telephone: (212) 219-1800
Fax: (212) 941-7458
Email: [email protected]

Legal Aid Society of New York
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.
Phone: (212)-577-3300

New York City Bar Association – Legal Hotline | New York, NY
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.
Phone: (212) 382.6600

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts | New York, NY
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.
Phone: 212.319.ARTS (2787) ext. 1
Email: [email protected]  

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts | Philadelphia, PA 
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.
Telephone: (215) 790-3822
Email: [email protected]

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council – Pittsburgh Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts | Pittsburgh, PA 
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!
Phone:  412-391-2060 x229

PUERTO RICO
TENNESSEE

Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville | Nashville, TN
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. 
Phone: (615) 460 – 8274
Email: [email protected]

TEXAS

Texas Accountants & Lawyers for the Arts | Austin, TX
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.
Phone: (800) 526-8252 (toll-free)
Email: [email protected] 

UTAH

Utah Lawyers for the Arts
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. 
Email: [email protected]

WASHINGTON

Washington Lawyers for the Arts | Seattle, WA 
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.
Phone: (206) 328-7053
Email: [email protected]

WEST VIRGINIA

Legal Aid of West Virginia | Charleston, WV
Legal Aid of West Virginia provides civil legal aid and advocacy services for low-income residents, seniors, victims of domestic violence, and the disabled.
Phone: 1-866-255-4370

WISCONSIN

Arts Winsconsin Arts Sector Legal Resources
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. 
Email: [email protected] 

Image: Dannielle Tegeder (Fellow in Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts ’17), Linear Momentum and Collisions, 2016, Image Credit: Dannielle Tegeder