Want Help?

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Download the Lawyers Volunteering for the Arts Referral Form (click the link).

Arts Group Advice

Small arts organisations, arts community groups – if “you” are more than one person and you are a non-profit or work with the community on arts or cultural projects, you may qualify for help on a range of legal issues.

Please don’t be put off by the level of information we ask for on the application form – this helps us understand more about your organisation and how you work with the local community so that we can confirm if you are eligible to receive free advice.

What size of group can apply?

Any size of group – large or small, will be considered. We are trying to target our support at the arts groups that can least afford legal advice so we have income limits around the same as those set by LawWorks (the solicitors national pro bono organisation). If your income is higher but you are struggling to pay for legal advice, we’d be happy to discuss your situation in more detail in case there is anything we can do to help (for example – restricted income of any amount may not be treated as income when we consider eligibility).

Do we need to be based in London?

You don’t have to be based in London – we’re encouraging lawyers and artists across England and Wales to participate. Some questions may be easily resolved following a telephone interview, or video call. So far we have worked with arts groups in Wales, Norfolk, Kent, Cornwall and Bristol as well as London.

Can you guarantee that I will receive help?

The simple answer is No. The scheme depends on a lawyer with the right expertise, being available at the time you contact us for help. Most of the time someone is available. On occasions, however, we will not be able to find a volunteer lawyer with the relevant expertise or capacity to help a group at the time of its request. Our Useful Resources page details some other sources of help that you may want to consider alongside applying to our scheme – just ensure you let us know if you find help after sending in an application to us.

How long does it take to get advice?

If your application meets our criteria, it can then take a few weeks to find a lawyer.

What sort of legal questions can we ask?

At the moment we have access to volunteers with expertise in:

Contracts: What does this contract or agreement mean (and should we sign it)? What sorts of issues do we need to cover in our contracts? Is our draft contract suitable for use? Can you advise us on how to negotiate some amendments to a form of contract we are being asked to sign?

Intellectual Property (IP): How do we protect our IP? Someone is using our IP and we don’t know what to do. Can you help us draft some terms governing the ownership of IP for a project we are planning in conjunction with other artists/ groups?

Employment: We’re about to employ someone for the first time, what do we need to know? Is this person an employee or a self-employed freelancer? Can you help us draft a grievance policy? Can you review our existing policies in case we left anything out? Another organisation is about to take over a contract that we were previously carrying out – what should we do about our employees who were working on that contract?

Joint Ventures : We’re thinking of working on a project with another organisation, what legal issues should we be aware of? We want to submit a joint funding bid, can you help us understand what agreements we need to produce governing the relationship?

Legal Structures: What is a charity? Should we set up a charity / social enterpriseĀ  / company? How do we convert from our existing structure to a different structure? Can someone review our draft articles of association?

Real Estate: What does this lease mean? Is there anything in the lease we need to be aware of before signing it? Can you help us negotiate some amendments to our lease? We may be unable to continue paying rent on premises due to funding cuts or other problems, can you advise us on our liabilities and options?

Dispute Resolution: We won’t be able to meet our obligations under an existing contract – what should we do? We’re having a disagreement over a bill, can you give us some initial advice to try and resolve the issue?

Mergers & Acquisitions: We’re thinking about merging with another organisation – what sorts of issues should we be considering?

 

How do we apply?

Complete this form Lawyers Volunteering for the Arts Referral Form and send it to us.

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