Legal Services

WALA provides legal services and support to the Washington arts community in several ways: education programs, legal clinics, and legal referrals.

EDUCATION PROGRAMS

WALA offers workshops on a variety of legal topics. Please see our calendar and check in regularly to view our updated calendar. WALA members receive regular email announcements about upcoming education programs.

LEGAL CLINICS
Twice a year WALA works with local law and business schools to host a legal clinic for a very limited number of preregistered WALA members.  Issues that do NOT involve litigation, disputes, or other adversarial proceedings may be appropriate for a legal clinic.  Issues that we are likely to handle include a review of a brief contract, a simple question about copyright ownership, or a review of correspondence. WALA can help you determine if your legal issue is one we can handle during a clinic or if you need more in-depth assistance. Clinics are free for WALA members and require pre-registration.

Email legalservices@waladc.org for more information. Dates for the clinics will be posted on www.waladc.org.

LEGAL REFERRALS

For legal issues that will require ongoing legal assistance, such as trademark protection, lawsuits, or contract negotiations, WALA offers legal referrals to attorneys within its network. Low-income artists and small non-profit organizations may be eligible for pro bono (free) legal assistance from our volunteer attorneys. Members whose income level exceeds our pro bono guidelines may receive referrals to WALA attorneys whom they will pay.

Please note that WALA does NOT provide legal advice to artists; rather, we administer a program that refers artists and arts organizations to outside attorneys for legal assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHO may access the program?

Any WALA member with an arts-related legal issue is eligible to receive legal services through WALA. WALA will make the determination if your legal issue is arts-related.

To become a WALA member, go to www.waladc.org , and click on the ‘Donate Now” button. In cases of extreme financial hardship, we may waive the membership requirement. Contact info@waladc.org for details.

HOW MUCH does the service cost?

WALA legal referrals are free for WALA members. Legal services are also free if you qualify for pro bono assistance. To qualify for pro bono assistance, your annual income must be under $30,000 if you are single, or under $40,000 if you are part of a couple. Please be prepared to substantiate your income claim if necessary with appropriate tax documents.

If you earn over our maximum qualifying income, you may negotiate a reduced fee with the attorney to whom you are referred, but WALA will not participate in this negotiation. Because our volunteer attorneys are supportive of the arts community, they are often willing to reduce their usual fees for WALA members.

You will be responsible for expenses such as filing and registration fees and process servers.

WHEN will I hear from my attorney?

The answer depends completely on the availability and interest of our volunteer attorneys. Because we rely on volunteer attorneys, we cannot promise that you will receive a referral within a certain time frame. Generally we are able to find a match for you within a month of your completed request, but this entirely depends on the type of legal issue you are presenting and the availability of attorneys. If you have a legal issue that is time sensitive, please mention so in your intake email.

WHAT TYPES of cases will WALA volunteer attorneys handle?

Any arts-related legal issues. Most commonly these include:

Intellectual Property (copyright, patent, trademark)

Business Organization

Nonprofit Issues

Contracts – Drafting and Negotiating

Employment Law

Landlord/Tenant Issues (involving studio or commercial space)

WALA will help you determine if your issue is arts-related.

HOW do I obtain a referral?

Once you have joined WALA, click here to complete WALA’s Request for Legal Services Form.

(Please note that current WALA membership is required. Join or renew by clicking here.)

Am I guaranteed an attorney?

No. WALA places the vast majority of requests with an attorney, but occasionally we cannot place a case. We will attempt to let you know as soon as we feel your case may not be picked up, and you are welcome to check in with us at any point during the process.

For more information, you may contact WALA Legal Services staff by emailing legalservices@waladc.org.