The EASL Section and its Pro Bono Steering Committee have a mission of making pro bono resources available to all EASL members and to make pro bono resources available to artists and entertainers who cannot otherwise afford legal counsel.
For almost a decade, the EASL Pro Bono Steering Committee has regularly provided general advice and legal information to struggling artists and not-for-profit artistic organizations through legal clinics. Topics covered during the Clinics include, among other things licensing issues, copyright, trademarks, collaboration agreements, for profit and not-for-profit incorporation issues, and contract law issues. The Steering Committee aspires to conduct a minimum of three Clinics each year. Each Clinic consists of half hour attorney-client meetings which often resolve the legal issues that are raised or point the clients towards further helpful resources.
The Pro Bono Steering Committee also tries to assist those struggling artists whose issues are not resolvable in the Clinics by matching them with experienced attorneys who may be willing to accept their issues on either a pro bono or reduced fee basis. In order to match clients, we are designing and planning to maintain a centralized database of attorneys interested in volunteering for pro bono and low cost litigation assistance. Referrals for such matters will be offered to the attorneys on the list first and then circulated to the greater EASL membership.
Recognizing that the lack of malpractice insurance coverage was a barrier to attorneys becoming involved with pro bono, the EASL Section partnered with the Intellectual Property Law Section to purchase inexpensive malpractice insurance coverage for up to 20 volunteer attorneys annually. Malpractice coverage is provided for each Clinic and expires at the conclusion of the Clinic session.
The Pro Bono Steering Committee also hosts a Speakers’ Bureau through which members can volunteer to speak on entertainment, art, and sports law issues for not-for-profit organizations, arts organizations, art schools, local high schools, and other groups. Members of the Speakers Bureau participate in programs that consist of general educational components on various issues relating to entertainment, art and sports law topics. We have produced such panels as “Protecting Your Creative Ideas” and “Setting Up Your Arts Business”, and plan to offer more on various topics on a continuous basis.
The Pro Bono Committee joined forces with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), and has been providing speakers for NYFA programs across the state, organizing and coordinating programs, and offering clinics as part of the development of a productive relationship that should last long into the future. Together with NYFA and other arts-related organizations, the EASL Section’s members will help countless New York artists and entertainers to do what it is that they do best – create.
For your information, should you have any questions or wish to volunteer for our pro bono programs and initiatives, please contact the Pro Bono Steering Committee member who best fits your interests as follows:
Clinics: Elissa D. Hecker ([email protected]) is coordinating walk-in legal clinics with various organizations.
Speakers Bureau: Carol Steinberg ([email protected])
Litigations: Irina Tarsis ([email protected]) is coordinating pro bono litigations.
We are looking forward to working with all of you, and to making pro bono resources available to all EASL members.