Apply for Services

Upon receipt of your application, we will process your application, determine whether it presents an issue with which we can be of assistance, and contact you shortly thereafter.  The VLA will refer you to an attorney (from our member panel of 400 attorneys) who expressed interest in handling your case and had the requisite availability to do so. Although we have a high match rate, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to match you with an attorney.  Your matter may also be attended to in-house by the our attornye staff. If you have any questions about our services, please feel free to call our office at 617-350-7600.  Thank you for reaching out to us.

Useful Links

Art Law Links
Government Offices
Journals and Publications
Music Resources
National Arts Organizations
Nonprofit Issues and Resources
Performance Arts Resources
Visual Arts Resources
Writers and Literary Arts Resources

Art Law Links

Government Offices

Journals and Publications

Music Resources

  • ASCAP - This website provides news and resources from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.
  • Band Register - Bandname.com was established in 1997, and it serves as a tool for the registration of band names.
  • Berne Convention - This website offers information on international copyright protection.
  • BMI - Licensing information, events, and general information is given about the Performing Rights Organization, Broadcast Music, Inc.
  • The Business of Promoting Independent Music - This website offers a variety of information and links to resources regarding talent agencies, web hosting, and other how-to's for the music business.
  • Copyright Society of the U.S.A. - This website works to advance the study and understanding of copyright law and related rights, the scope of rights in literature, music, art, etc., and their distribution via both traditional and new media.
  • Copyright Website - This website provides a copyright portal providing real world (and some whimsical) copyright information.
  • Doing it Yourself: A Guide to Making Music - This website provides a guide to making music from building a stuido to marketing and promotion.
  • The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (Mechanical Rights Collection Agency) - Information on mechanical licensing, distribution, and collection is provided.
  • Kohn on Music Licensing - This website provides free information regarding Copyright Law and Licensing Music for use and distribution over the World Wide Web.
  • MAS: Musicians Assistance Site - General information is given focusing on touring and promotion, record labels, and pressing and printing.
  • National Music Publishers Association - A Music Publishing 101 section gives general information about copyright and the legal issues to consider for publishers of music.
  • The Recording Website - This website provides members and visitors answers to recording questions by home and project recording musicians and recordists.
  • Sample Music Contracts - This website provides free music business contracts created by an entertainment law firm.
  • SESAC - This website provides general information about this Performing Rights Organization, and it gives general licensing, publishing, and current events information.
  • The Ultimate Band List - This website serves as a tool for unsigned bands, their fans, and industry managers who want to discover them.
  • Universal Copyright Convention - This website offers information to ensure in all countries copyright protection of literary, scientific, and artistic works.

National Arts Organizations

Nonprofit Issues and Resources

  • Answers.com - This website provides general information regarding nonprofit organizations, including but not limited to tax matters.
  • Arts Marketing - This website offers nonprofit organizations the ability to address their daily marketing needs and longer-term marketing issues.
  • Catalog for Philanthropy - donor-friendly taxonomy of charities
  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy - This newspaper is the number one news source, in print and online, for charity leaders, fund raisers, grant makers, and other people involved in the philanthropic enterprise.
  • Energize, Inc. - Energize, Inc. is an international training, consulting, and publishing firm specializing in volunteerism.
  • Idealist.org - This website provides opportunities to network with other nonprofit organizations, and list any volunteer or internship opportunities.
  • National Center for Nonprofit Boards - This website offers ways to increase the strength of boards of directors through their consulting practice, publications, tools, and membership program.
  • National Council of Nonprofit Associations - This website links local organizations to a national audience, which helps small to midsize nonprofit organizations manage and lead more effectively.
  • Nonprofit Issues - Nonprofit Issues is a national web newsletter. This site offers the opportunity to subscribe, search the article archives, and purchase books pertaining to nonprofit legal issues.
  • Points of Light Foundation - This foundation engages and mobilizes millions of volunteers who are helping to solve serious social problems in thousands of communities.
  • The Society For Nonprofit Organizations - This website provides products and services to nonprofit groups to help them accomplish their missions more effectively.
  • Volunteer Today - This website is an e-newsletter for those who manage the work of volunteers in nonprofit, government, or corporate programs.

Performance Art Resources

  • Cast Us! - This website allows users to create anad manage a page builder displaying resumes, photos, and videos, in conjunction with talent agencies having the ability to view these pages.
  • City Sites - This website offers filmmakers the ability to distribute his or her short films via international private and public screenings.
  • Dance Links - This website offers a listing of various dance links that range from ballet to modern dance listings.
    Actors' Equity Association - This website seeks to advance and promote live theatre by negotiating wages and benefits for its members.
  • The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. - This website provides useful information about Broadway in general, but also what negotiations are handled for its members.
  • Playbill Online - This website offers news and listings for Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional productions, and informative features about every aspect of theatre.
  • Screen Actors Guild (SAG) - SAG is the nation's largest labor union representing working artists.

Visual Arts Resources

  • American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) - ASMP is the premier resource for community, culture, commerce, and publications relating to publication photographers worldwide.
  • Crafts Fair Online - This website is the oldest and largest craft directory online.
  • Design Training - A great resource for researching design schools across the country
  • Directors' Guild of America (DGA) - This website was designed to keep viewers updated regarding the latest issues of the DGA, and offer various tools, i.e. membership options, sample contracts, etc.
  • Fine Arts Trade - This website specializes in art trade, and allows one to estimate, buy, or sell his or her fine arts online.
  • George Eastman House - This website offers viewers links to the world's leading collections of photography and film that are collected and interpreted individually.
  • Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) - IFTA is a nonprofit association that actively lobbies the United States and European governments and international organizations on measures that impact production and distribution.
  • Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) - MPLC is an independent copyright licensing agency that provides the Umbrella License to ensure copyright compliance for the public performance of motion pictures.
  • Photo.net - This webpage is an online community that provides a peer-to-peer educational system for people who wish to become better photographers.
  • Printmakers Organziations - This website provides useful links to various printing sources.
  • World Wide Arts Resources - This website is the largest site for contemporary art, art news, art history, contemporary artist, and gallery portfolios.

Writers and Literary Arts Resources

  • The Authors Registry - The Authors Registry is a nonprofit organization formed to help expedite the flow of royalty payments and small reuse fees to authors, particularly for new media uses.
  • National Writers Union (NWU) - The NWU is the trade union for freelance and contract writers.
  • Planetcartoonist.com - This website offers the most valuable resource for amateur and professional cartoonists around the world.
  • Poets and Writers - Poets and writers is the largest nonprofit literary organization that serves poets, fiction writers, and creative non-fiction writers.
  • Publisher's List - This website provides links to various Publishers within the United States and outside the Country.
  • Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) - The WGAE, along with WGAW, works to help screenwriters register his or her literary works.
  • Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) - The WGAW is the world's leading screenplay registration service.
  • Writer's Resource Center - This website provides news, articles, information, and job opportunities for writers.
  • Writing.com - This website provides writers the ability to store and display his or her masterpieces.

Law Students and Undergraduates

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts provides internship opportunities for students and graduates in different stages of their education. These internships may be counted for credit through your college or university program.

VLA Legal Internship

The VLA provides a wonderful opportunity for law students to learn about the many different areas of law and how the law relates to the unique issues raised in the arts and by artists. The internship is designed to expose students to a wide range of issues specific to arts law and non-profit organizations, such as copyright, trademark, licensing and non profit incorporation, to name a few.

The legal intern will counsel artists/clients by telephone, help discern their legal needs and working with the VLA staff and other interns address their legal needs. Interns will also have the opportunity to attend VLA sponsored workshops and seminars that provide training and education in legal aspects of the arts.

The Art Law Internship is open to first, second and third year law students for the fall, spring and summer. The internship is a volunteer position.

To Apply

The resume submission periods for our legal internship positions are as follows:

•    Spring: the final two weeks in October
•    Summer: the final two weeks in February
•    Fall: the final two weeks in June

Please be sure to include which internship position and term you are applying for and the days you are available to intern with us during that term. If you have other deadlines, such as deadlines to acquire funding or receive course credit with your school, please let us know.

Please submit your resume and letter of interest to:

Megan Low
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
15 Channel Center Street, Suite 103
Boston, MA 02210
megan@artsandbusinesscouncil.org

 

VLA Arts Administration Internship

The VLA Arts Administration Intern will assist in the running of the VLA. The intern will assist in with all facets of running the organization. These areas include working with the Director of Legal Services to administer legal referral programs, designing and implementing seminars for artists on a wide range of arts related legal issues, and grant writing and grant reporting.

To Apply

The resume submission periods for our VLA Arts Administration Internship positions are as follows:

•    Spring: the final two weeks in October
•    Summer: the final two weeks in February
•    Fall: the final two weeks in June

Please be sure to include which term you are applying for and the days you are available to intern with us during that term. If you have other deadlines, such as to acquire funding or receive course credit with your school, please let us know.

Please submit your resume and letter of interest to:

Megan Low
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
15 Channel Center Street, Suite 103
Boston, MA 02210
megan@artsandbusinesscouncil.org

FAQ

1) Who qualifies for legal assistance from the VLA?

The VLA provides legal assistance to artists (any discipline) and arts and cultural organizations of all disciplines. If you do not qualify for legal assistance through the VLA, however we will do our best to locate the best organization to suit your needs.

2) What is the process for obtaining legal assistance from the VLA of Massachusetts?

In order to obtain legal assistance from the VLA, we request you submit an Application for Legal Assistance and pay an application fee. The Application may be sent by email, post or by fax. In order to qualify for pro bono services, the VLA requires verification of your annual income. Every two weeks, the VLA sends a list of all outstanding cases to its panel, and if the attorneys have the necessary expertise and time, the request the case.

3) How long will it take for me to get an attorney referral?

The VLA sends out case summaries to its 400 panel attorneys every other week. The process can take as little as a few days, or much longer depending upon the time of year and legal issue involved. Please call the office to check the status of your application.

4) What should I do when I get a referral letter?

You may contact the attorney, if he or she has not already contacted you, when you receive the referral letter. Please try and make contact with your referral attorney as soon as possible, as they are often very busy and may no longer be free to take your case, if you wait too long to contact them. If for whatever reason, the attorney cannot take your case, please contact the VLA as soon as possibly so we can locate alternative counsel.

5) How many attorneys may I choose from?

If your case is deemed to be eligible for pro bono (free) representation, you will be given the name of one attorney, chosen by the VLA. If you do not qualify for pro bono assistance, you may participate in our VLA Fee Incurring referral program (see below for an explanation), you will be given up to three names of attorneys who are interested in your case. (Fewer than three attorneys may be referred if fewer attorneys express an interest in your case.) You may choose which attorney you decide to work with. Although you may consult with all three attorneys, DO NOT allow more than one attorney to represent you in the matter. You may think it is a good strategy to have more than one attorney working for you, but you will cause more harm than good to your case.

6) How do I get free legal assistance?

In order to qualify for free legal assistance, your income must fall below a certain level, determined by the VLA. (As a rule, we do not release this information.) If multiple people (groups) are seeking representation in a single matter, the VLA will adjust its income requirements based on the number of interested artists that apply for assistance together. In order to qualify for pro bono representation, a copy of an artist's most recent tax return must be submitted. An arts organization's pro bono eligibility is determined by its operating budget. In order to qualify for pro bono service, an arts organization must submit a copy of its most recent operating budget.

7) How free is free?

Pro bono (free) legal assistance may not be "free" as defined by the dictionary. The pro bono program waives only the fees generated by the attorney (either hourly or pre-set). The artist is responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the attorney such as filing fees, court costs, discovery expenses and other expenses as well. Make sure you discuss any possible expenses during your initial discussions with your attorney.

8) What if I don't qualify for free legal assistance?

If your income falls outside of our pre-determined limits, you will still be eligible for a legal referral. It is up to you and your attorney to settle on an appropriate fee for the case. The VLA generally does not get involved in fee disputes between you and your attorney.

Attorneys

Thank you for your interest in providing legal services for the artists of Massachusetts. For the past 25 years the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts, Inc. (VLA) has been supporting the Massachusetts Arts Community by counseling artists and arts organizations on their legal issues. Through our legal referral service alone, the VLA has assisted over 4,500 artists and arts organizations since 1989.

How We Work

The VLA supports a pro bono panel of over 400 hundred attorneys. These dedicated lawyers donate their time and expertise to artists and arts organizations that would otherwise be denied access to quality legal services.

On a biweekly basis, the VLA sends an email to our pro bono panel and to our VLA Members. This email contains a list of the cases needing legal assistance in addition to requests for the VLA's other programs.

If you are interested in volunteering as a VLA Panel Attorney, and assisting artists and arts organizations, contact Director of Services Megan Low at megan@artsandbusinesscouncil.org.

Once you have joined the panel and receive our bi-weekly emails, please call or email us with preferred case choices. We try to match your interests and expertise with the relevant issues of each particular case or seminar request. Consequently, please be specific when filling out the Attorney Survey regarding your background and interests.

After we refer a case to you, we recognize that you may need to obtain firm approval and conduct a conflicts check. We only ask that you complete this process promptly because if there is any problem, we would like to make an alternate referral as quickly as possible. If you wish, the VLA offers an informal mentor program for attorneys who would like to consult with other attorneys on VLA cases or programs.

Insurance

The VLA has a separate malpractice insurance policy covering those panel attorneys who volunteer for pro bono cases. Attorneys requesting non pro bono cases must obtain their own malpractice insurance.

VLA Attorney Membership

In addition to the volunteer panel, the VLA operates an Attorney Membership Program. This program helps support all the VLA's programs and in addition Members have access to fee generating cases and other benefits. Learn more about VLA Attorney Membership and become a VLA Member >>