Entertainment Careers,  music business

Free Legal Advice For Artists (Yes, Free!)

There comes a time for every successful up and coming artist to seek legal advice. Usually, this is something we classify in the category of “Good Problems” rather than “Bad Problems,” however that doesn’t necessarily make the whole process any less stressful for most people! Before opening up the phonebook and paying $250+ per hour to an entertainment lawyer or consultant for elementary questions, it only makes sense to exploit every possible free or low cost option at your disposal first.

Almost every major entertainment city has a program called Volunteer Lawyers for the Creative Arts, which is exactly what the name implies. Qualified attorneys agree to put their name on a roster to provide basic and simple (operative words obviously) legal advice to artists who otherwise could not afford legal counsel.

Contact phone numbers for Volunteer Lawyers for the Creative Arts in major cities:

New York: (212) 319-2787

Los Angeles: (310) 998-5590

Chicago: (312) 649-4111

Additional states and free basic advice can also be received from most performing rights organizations such as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC by simply calling and speaking to a representative. Members of the Songwriters Guild of America are even entitled to a free basic contract review and many other excellent benefits.

Please keep in mind that the above free resources are intended as helpful advice centers rather than as a substitute for formal legal counsel, and that for a serious situation with high-stakes you will always need to hire your own entertainment or music lawyer.

Finally, before talking to any professional – volunteer or paid – you should always do your homework first. It definitely does not make a good impression to take up someone’s time (or pay for it) when it is clear you have not researched the issues yourself yet. There is a plethora of detailed information on the internet and at colleges and community centers, so use common sense and remember you are always ultimately responsible for taking care of yourself.

Good luck!