Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

Woman Holding an Acoustic Guitar Leaning Against a Piano and Smiling at a Male Pianist

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

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. Our program serves individual artists, musical groups, and cultural organizations.

How it Works
To apply for services, please click on the appropriate application link in the sections below (Individual Artists, Musical Groups, Arts Organizations, Nonprofit Incorporation). We request that all applications are sent through the mail to our address at 15 Channel Center Street #103, Boston, MA 02210. If you have any inquiries about the application process, please email Megan Low, Director of Services, at megan@artsandbusinesscouncil.org.

Based on the information in your application, the VLA will determine if your legal issue can be addressed by the A&BC office directly or whether it is more appropriate to refer you to a VLA panel attorney. Emails are sent every two weeks to the panel of attorneys, and cases are typically placed within 2-3 weeks. While the VLA will do its best to place urgent matters, we may not be able to provide urgent assistance due to the volunteer nature of our panel. Please note that we cannot guarantee an attorney will be located for your matter.

If you are eligible for free legal services, the VLA will attempt to refer you to a volunteer attorney. If it is determined that you are not eligible for free legal services, the VLA will refer you to a VLA Member Attorney. Our Member Attorneys are lawyers dedicated to assisting artists and arts organizations, and thus are often willing to negotiate their fees.

Though we try to refer every case, we cannot guarantee that we will find a lawyer to take your case. Depending upon the nature of your question/problem, you should expect to hear from us within approximately two weeks from the date your application is submitted.

For Artists
If you are an artist seeking legal support, please download the application for services. When you mail your application to our offices, please include the application fee of $55, the first few pages of your most recent tax return showing your adjusted gross income (AGI), and Schedule C of Form 2106. You can also pay your application fee online.

Download: Artist application for services (English)
Download: Artist application for services (Spanish)

Estate Planning Services for Artists
We believe every artist should protect his or her estate legacy. The VLA works with estate planning attorneys that are experienced working with the unique issues of an artist’s estate and dedicated to assisting artists to develop an estate plan. It’s never too late or too early to think seriously about your legacy and to take steps now that will make a difference! Learn more about our estate planning and legacy services for artists.

Patent Pro Bono Program
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is invested in our creative community. With the passage of the America Invents Act, the United States Patent Office is working with regional patent pro bono programs to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses. The VLA has partnered with the USPTO and the Boston Patent Law Association to provide pro bono legal assistance to eligible inventors in Massachusetts,Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Learn more about this program and apply for services.

For Musical Groups
If you are part of a musical group seeking legal support, please click on the button below to download the application. When you mail your application to our offices, please include the application fee of $85, the first few pages of each band member’s most recent tax return showing their adjusted gross income (AGI), and Schedule C of Form 2106. You can also pay your application fee online.

Download: Musician application for services

For Organizations
If you are part of an arts organization seeking legal support, please click on the button below to download the application. When you mail your application to our offices, please include the application fee of $125 and your organization’s budget for the current year. You can also pay your application fee online.

Download: Arts organization application for services

Nonprofit Incorporation Services
If you are part of an organization seeking nonprofit incorporation services, please click on the button below to download the application. When you mail your application to our offices, please include the application fee of $250 and your organization’s budget for the current year. You can also pay your application fee online. We also highly recommend you attend one of our nonprofit incorporation workshops, held every two months in Boston. Check our event calendar to see when the next workshop is being held.

Download: Application for nonprofit incorporation services