I am baffled, perplexed, yea and verily, utterly flummoxed when I hear of poor, starving artists going up against big bad corporations and nefarious industry individuals, and these poor creators are utterly unable to afford legal advice or representation, when I REPEATEDLY RECOMMEND THE VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS to them AS IF I AM CHANTING A FREAKING MANTRA!!!

THE VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS, an organization whose name should be seared into your brain by now, takes cases pro bono or based on need as indicated by your income.

If you come to me for advice, and I direct you to the VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS, and you do not do as I have recommended, and then you complain you can’t get a lawyer…well, Darwinism is at work. I have recommended THE VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS to a number of creators over the years, and they represented me when I was a young and poor artist, and they also recommended adequate legal counsel elsewhere at very reasonable prices. I have NEVER known them NOT to represent a creator to the satisfaction of all involved WHEN THERE WAS A LEGITIMATE CASE.

In fact, I just paid my extremely expensive art and entertainment attorney his hundreds of dollars an hour fee to go over a legal matter for a creator who pleads abuse and poverty, and the money out of my pocket did not get the creator the answer they hoped for – i.e., they’ve got a loser of a case. Bummer for them.

However, if you don’t believe me, or if you don’t believe my lawyer WHOSE BILLS ARE PAID BY ME O, Clueless One, then you STILL could have gone to the VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS to get an independent assessment, which appears to be something you did not do.

Like I said, Darwinism.

So, don’t be low critter on the food chain. When your funds are limited and your grievance is genuine, contact the VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS, and do what smart people do.

They don’t get mad. They let their attorneys get mad for them.

By the way, I would like to point out that the person who first directed me to the VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS was Bill Mantlo, a former comics creator who took up the law as a public defender. Mantlo was badly injured in a freak accident while rollerblading and has been living with brain damage ever since.

Mantlo did me a great service, spent hours with me going over my case, helped secure me a link up with the VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS, and kept in touch with me until the matter was resolved. My total financial outlay over several year’s worth of legal struggles was only $1,000. I call that a bargain. It saved my project A Distant Soil.

I am eternally grateful to Bill Mantlo. Thank you for your kindness, your decency, and for giving me the information that I was able to pass along to other creators who also had very satisfactory results with the VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS.

In fact, the next time I donate to a legal fund, my money is going to the VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS.

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS SERVICES, all right there online for anyone to read, any day, any time, for months and months and months:

About Us

Legal Services

VLA delivers pro bono and low cost legal services and information to over 10,000 members of the arts community each year.
The Art Law Line : 212·319·ARTS (2787), ext.1
Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Education

VLA plays an important role in educating individual artists, arts professionals within arts and cultural institutions, attorneys, students and the general public about legal and business issues that affect artistic and creative endeavors.

MediateArt

MediateArt pairs artists with mediators to mediate or resolve arts-related disputes outside the traditional legal framework. For detailed call the Program Coordinator at 212·319·ARTS (2787), ext. 16.

Advocacy

From its inception, VLA has played an important role as an advocate on behalf of the arts community in different ways, ranging from participation in litigation, making public statements about matters of interest to the arts community, and making recommendations about pending legislation.

Detailed list of services

ABOUT OUR LEGAL SERVICES
The Art Law Line: This free hotline is open to all callers (artists, art professionals, and art
organizations) with arts-related legal matters. All applicants for legal help
should use this line to find out about our programs, answer simple
questions, find out if they qualify for our service, and arrange
appointments to see an attorney. Legal associates & interning law
students staffing this hotline are ready to assist you. The hotline number is
212.319.ARTS (2787) Ext. 1.
Member: FREE!
Nonmember: FREE!
Legal Clinic Appointments: This is a half-hour private consultation with a volunteer attorney, on Clinic
dates, which are the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each Month. Members must
make an appointment through the Art Law Line 212.319.ARTS (2787) Ext. 1
Member: FREE!
Nonmember: Unavailable
In-house Consultation: This is a half-hour private consultation with a staff attorney to evaluate and
deal with your legal issue. Non-Member & Members must make an
appointment and determine whether you are Pro Bono Qualified you must
talk to a VLA’s Art Law Line 212.319.ARTS (2787) Extension 1.
Individual Member, Pro Bono Qualified: $35.00
Individual Member, not Pro Bono Qualified: Unavailable
Organizational Member, Not For Profit: $50.00
Individual Nonmember, Pro Bono Qualified: $50.00 or Non-Disputed
($100.00 for a Dispute)
Individual Nonmember, not Pro Bono Qualified: Unavailable
Organizational Nonmember, Not For Profit: $150.00
Pro Bono Case Placement: For issues that require assistance beyond the Clinic or an In-House
Consultation, VLA will seek placement for your case with a volunteer
attorney, for those who qualify under VLA’s financial guidelines.
Individual Member, Pro Bono Qualified: $35.00 ($50.00 for a Dispute)
Individual Member, not Pro Bono Qualified: Unavailable
Organizational Member, Not For Profit: $50.00
Individual Nonmember, Pro Bono Qualified: $50.00 ($100.00 for a
Dispute)

etc…

But wait! there’s more!

VLA is deeply grateful to the hundreds of law firms, individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies for their extraordinary generosity during Fiscal Year 2004-05. This year VLA raised over threequarters of a million dollars from our Special Events, Foundation, Government, Law Firm and Corporate Membership programs.

During the past five years, VLA’s activities have been particularly supported by our law firm and corporate members. The list of members continues to grow. As of June 30, 2005, there were 30 law firm and corporate members. The level of law firm and corporate support also continued to grow. VLA received its first and largest corporate membership contribution at the $25,000 Patron level from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

Wow. Look. Real money. Real lawyers. Real power. Real experience.

Really good idea.

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