When an Artist Needs a Lawyer, Where Do You Find One?

The search for a lawyer is often time-consuming and disheartening. Not only are fees high, but many lawyers are not knowledgeable about the issues encountered by artists. Standard techniques for finding a lawyer include asking a friend who consulted a lawyer for a similar problem, calling a local bar association’s referral service, or going to a legal clinic. All of these approaches have merits, but today the artist may be able to locate a knowledgeable lawyer with far greater precision.

The very definition of an area of the law as “art law” is an encouraging sign for the expertise lawyers will bring to the artist’s problems. The literature and educational programs for lawyers have vastly increased. Many law schools now offer art-law courses and bar associations are paying greater attention to art and the artist. The Selected Bibliography shows how many art-law books are now available for lawyers.

Equally encouraging are the lawyers across the country volunteering to help needy artists. Both volunteer lawyers’ groups and artists’ groups, several of which maintain rosters of attorneys who will help members at a reduced fee, are good resources to use when seeking a lawyer with art-law expertise. Such referrals may result in finding lawyers who either do not charge or work at more affordable rates. Up-to-date information on the volunteers closest to a specific location can be obtained from one of the following established groups:

California Lawyers for the Arts (www.calawyersforthearts.org)

Fort Mason Center
Building C, Room 255
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 775-7200


1641 18th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 998-5590

Lawyers for the Creative Arts (www.law-arts.org)

213 West Institute Place, Suite 411
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 649-4111

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (www.vlany.org)

1 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 319-2787

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