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Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) helps artists, cultural organizations, and creative entrepreneurs through a lawyer referral program, direct representation, and educational programs.

What we do

Lawyer referral program: VLA refers applicants to a panel of volunteer attorneys who offer their services on a pro bono basis and paid attorneys who offer their services on a reduced fee basis.

Direct legal representation: VLA staff attorneys work directly with applicants to address their specific legal issues in house.

Educational programs: Presentations and workshops presented by attorneys for the creative community.

Now Serving Creative Communities in Massachusetts and Connecticut

The A&BC’s VLA Massachusetts program has provided legal services, advice, and educational programming to artists and cultural organizations throughout Massachusetts for more than 30 years. The VLA program accomplishes its mission through the work of a panel of more than 750 attorneys who volunteer their time and services to provide legal counsel, education, and organizational support to the Massachusetts arts community.

In partnership with the Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA), the A&BC is now delivering these same services to individual artists and arts organizations throughout the State of Connecticut. In addition to supporting the Connecticut creative sector, this positions Connecticut as a leader and a model for subsequent states as we further expand VLA services throughout the remainder of New England. Our vision is one of a regional VLA—Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of New England.

The VLA provided direct legal services to more than 250 artists and arts organizations this past fiscal year. Through our in-house and referred cases, the VLA provided $758,000 in donated services last year.

The VLA provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to qualifying individual artists, creative entrepreneurs, inventors, musical groups, and nonprofit organizations. 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. While we will do our best to place urgent matters, we may not be able to provide urgent assistance due to the volunteer nature of our panel. Also, while we endeavor to place every matter we approve, we cannot guarantee an attorney will be located for your matter.

Legal Services For Artists, Creative
Entrepreneurs and Arts Organizations

If you are an individual or cultural organization seeking legal assistance, we can help. Applying for services is easy, and we’ll show you how. We look forward to learning more about your needs.

Nonprofit Incorporation Services

If you are part of an organization seeking nonprofit incorporation services, we can help. Learn more about our incorporation services, or attend one of our nonprofit incorporation workshops, held every two months in Boston. View our calendar.

Patent Pro Bono Program

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

Estate Planning

We believe every artist should protect his or her estate legacy. It’s never too late or too early to think seriously about your legacy and to take steps now that will make a difference!

Boston Art Review Reports on Artist Live-Work Space in Boston

The spring/summer 2022 edition of the Boston Art Review is out, and it includes a fantastic feature by Anita Morson-Matra, “Real Talk," that focuses on the state of live-work spaces for artists in Boston.  Anita…

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Preserving 350 Artist Spaces in Lowell

The Arts & Business Council is delighted to announce the preservation of Western Avenue | Studio & Lofts, a vibrant artist community in Lowell, Massachusetts, through purchase of the property as the next phase of…

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Available Grants from Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation

Our partners at Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation have two new grant programs available to help small businesses continue to recover from the pandemic. While not all of the artists and arts organizations we work with…

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