VLA | 1 East 53rd Street, 6th Floor | New York, NY
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Updated as of Thursday, May 09, 2013, 12:50 PM
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Who We Serve
VLA serves low income and indigent artists and nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in every imaginable discipline. For example, theater, dance, fashion, the visual arts, performance, music, journalism, crafts, textiles, architecture, film, design, literature, and poetry are only a few of the artistic disciplines we service. Whether artists are looking to start a nonprofit dance company, copyright their manuscript or produce an independent film, VLA is available to assist them. Before cases are placed on this list, VLA meets with the applicant for pro bono services to confirm that they meet VLA’s financial and substantive guidelines. A copy of our financial and substantive qualification guidelines is available upon your request.
Table of Contents
Real Estate /Landlord/Tenant
Wills, Trusts or Estates
Contract - Back to
Client has a recording
contract with a US record company (“AP 1”) with his music performance group (“Group”). The
Group was originally signed on with a UK recording company (“AP 2”) until the company was
acquired by AP 1.
Client claims that he has not received proper royalties for one of the Group’s tracks. The Group
created the track before signing their contract with AP 1. Client is unclear whether UK or US/NY
law applies given AP 2’s acquisition by AP 1.
An independent performance rights group has offered to compensate Client for Group tracks
currently being performed.
*** Client is a production
company that owns the rights to an old Broadway show. Client began working with a management
company who assisted it in preparations to open the Broadway show revival. After Client was
unable to raise the necessary funds according to the allotted schedule, the management
company began to pay off existing liabilities without informing Client, exposing Client to the
remaining liabilities for the project. The management company has since terminated its contract
with Client and demands payment of all outstanding liabilities totaling over $300,000. Client
seeks a volunteer attorney to assist in determining whether or not continuing with production of
the play is a viable option and also to assess whether the management company wrongfully
disbursed funds. Additionally, Client has concerns regarding its ownership of the play, because
although that agreement is between Client and the original authors, the management company
put itself down as “care of” in the agreement.
Client is the creator of an
interactive public art performance that allows audience members to virtually experience flight in
space. Client contacted Adverse Party, a multimedia and interaction designer, to create software
that would enhance the experience and provided Adverse Party with hardware and financial
support to do so. Adverse Party now seeks to further develop and exploit the software. Client
would like to enter into an equitable agreement with Adverse Party to receive compensation
through the life of the product. Client also would like a non-exclusive license for the continued
use of the software in Client’s art performance. Client seeks a pro bono attorney to assist in
drafting the contract accordingly.
This case is related to Case #13092, although the volunteer attorney who accepts this case is not
obligated to take on both.
*** Client is a New York-
based web designer seeking a volunteer attorney to review and revise an existing letter of
engagement. Client also seeks a volunteer attorney to draft an amendment to a form freelance
work contract that would ensure Client’s ownership rights with respect to the work she performs for
13185 - On Review
Client is a
visual artist who has an existing contract with an art gallery. The original contract terminated but
contains language that all debts expire after one year from the termination date. The gallery has
asked Client to sign a new contract. Client seeks the advice of an attorney to negotiate the terms
of the new agreement.
13122 - On Review
paintings were displayed in Adverse Party’s gallery pursuant to a commission agreement. When
AP returned the unsold pieces to Client, three paintings were damaged and one painting wasn’t
returned. Client seeks a volunteer attorney to assist her in getting AP to (a) pay for the restoration
or replacement of the damaged paintings, and (b) return the painting that AP kept. Further, client
is concerned that AP will take the painting out of the country.
13092 - On Review
Client is a
visual and installation artist who has developed an interactive public art performance that allows
audience members to virtually experience flight in space. Client received studio space from
Adverse Party (“AP”), entering into a lease agreement with a three-month term. The performance
was scheduled for thirty-five shows within that lease term, but was open for only five shows before
AP unilaterally terminated the lease agreement due to the alleged damages from Storm Sandy.
Client believes that termination of the lease and dissemblance of the installation was
unnecessary and resulted in the loss of ticket sales, goodwill and damage to his professional
reputation. Client seeks the pro bono legal assistance of a volunteer attorney to assess the claim
for damages resulting from the lease termination and advocate for Client’s claims for damages, if
This case is related to Case #13100, although the volunteer attorney who accepts this case is not
obligated to take on both.
Client is an oil painter and
interior designer who seeks assistance to recover assets sold from a rented storage facility.
Client placed her art supplies and other personal belongings into a rental facility owned by a
storage company (“Storage Company”). Client signed an agreement that called for monthly
payments and stipulated that if she were to be two months late in paying her bill, Storage
Company would have the right to auction off the items placed in storage.
Towards the beginning of the rental period (approximately 2 months in), Client received a bill
stating that she was late in making her monthly payments. The bill did not indicate that Storage
Company was taking steps to auction Client’s items. Furthermore, the bill charged Client for the
following two months in advance, leading Client to believe that the rental arrangement was not
being terminated and that she had time to rectify her delinquent payments. Client contacted
Storage Company and discovered that in fact her items had already been auctioned and bought
by a buyer (the “Buyer”). Client was told that, contrary to her instructions, Storage Company had
attempted to warn her via telephone call that she was in danger of losing her stored items. Client
maintains that she received no email correspondence which made mention of any impending
auction. Client has contacted the Buyer, and he informed her that he has already disposed of
most of her belongings.
Client seeks the assistance of attorney to recover the assets sold by Storage Company (or to seek
damages if the items themselves cannot be recovered.
This case is related to Case # 13015 although the Volunteer Attorney who accepts this case is not
obligated to take on both cases.
Contract/Copyright - Back to Top
13105 - On Review
Client is a
screenwriter who wrote a film script jointly with Adverse Party. Client sought to clarify the term
“joint author” within copyright law, specifically wanting to know what each joint author could or
could not with the film script without the permission of the other. Client further seeks the
assistance of a pro bono attorney in drafting a contract to clarify each party’s rights for the script.
Client may also have potential fair use issues with the script.
13034 - On Review
Client is a
documentary filmmaker. Client and his Business Partner met Adverse Party, a real estate
developer, during a real estate project. Adverse Party suggested that the three of them create a
documentary together of one of his development projects, which would cover the project’s
transformation of abandoned buildings into living and work spaces for artists. Client and Business
Partner decided to create the documentary, and began working on it. Creative issues arose with
Adverse Party. Client and his Business Partner have always insisted that they should maintain
creative control and have been clear that they do not expect payment from Adverse Party. Client
seeks legal assistance negotiating any potential ownership and creative claims with Adverse
Client wrote a children’s
book that was published by Adverse Party (AP) in the 1990s. AP paid Client royalties until 2000,
then stopped. Client recently learned that her book is being sold domestically, including on
Amazon, and abroad. Client no longer has her copy of the contract she signed with AP, and her
attempts to contact AP have been unsuccessful. Client needs an attorney and to get AP to pay
her any royalties that she is owed.
Client is a photographer
and co-founder of a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to photojournalism. The Organization’s
website displays several photographs taken by Client. There appears to be an inconsistency in
Client’s contract with the Organization regarding ownership of these photographs, because the
contract refers both to their joint ownership of the photographs and to the photographer’s
exclusive control over sale of the images. The Organization claims ownership of the photographs.
Client claims that the Organization has limited permission to display the photographs on the
website without cost, while Client retains the copyright and the right to respond to sale offers.
Client has lost at least one opportunity to sell photographs, because the Organization refused to
divert an offer of purchase to Client. Despite multiple requests by Client, the Organization has
not taken down the photographs. Client successfully removed some of the photographs himself
before the Organization withdrew his editing access. The Organization has stopped all payments
to its photographers, including Client. Client is most concerned about getting his photographs
removed from the website quickly, and would like to recoup the money that he is owed by the
Organization. He is also somewhat interested in getting the Directors ousted for
Copyright - Back to
13121 - On Review
Client is an
independent jewelry designer that sells her items online and at local markets. Client has been
wholesaling jewelry with vintage components to a company (Adverse Party. “AP”) that sells
clothing and jewelry online. AP’s website previously attributed the jewelry to Client and included
Client’s story on the website. AP stopped ordering the Client’s jewelry and has been
manufacturing and selling copies with contemporary components. Client wants the design
company to stop selling copies of her jewelry and wants to be compensated for lost profits.
13026 - On Review
Client is a
New York-based screenwriter. Client collaborated with Collaborator in developing an idea for a
script, which Client turned into a written work-product. Adverse Party (“AP1”), a director, asked to
write with Client and contributed AP’s own characters and script lines for the film project, but
ultimately, Client edited and organized all the characters and lines into a final script. The
relationship between AP1 and Client deteriorated due to irreconcilable differences, and it was
agreed that AP1 could keep her own characters and Client would keep his. Thereafter, AP1
created a film production company with Adverse Party 2 (“AP2”), an actor that Client had also
been working with on the original film project. Collaborator is also an actor for the film company.
Subsequently, the film company developed a film using large portions of Client’s own work even
though AP1 claimed that AP1 would not even use the same subject-matter. Client seeks pro bono
attorney assistance in resolving the copyright ownership issues over the script and negotiating
credit and compensation for Client’s work.
Client is a producer who
retained Adverse Party to develop a loose script for a short film and TV pilot with the
understanding that Client would be the sole owner of the project. Client paid Adverse Party for
the ghostwriting of Client’s work, and Adverse Party agreed to direct the short film as a return favor
to Client from a prior project. However, Client and other crew members were not pleased with the
directing and Client had to take over. Adverse Party, who possesses a digital copy of all of the
raw footage, is now claiming the right to use the footage for various purposes Client does not
authorize, including releasing a Director’s Cut. Client has not yet released the film but has
registered his copyright in the footage with the U.S. Copyright Office. Client seeks the assistance
of a pro bono attorney to prevent—and, if necessary, obtain remedies for— the unauthorized use
by Adverse Party.
VLA will continue to provide assistance to the volunteer attorney taking on this matter.
13046 - On Review
Client is a
New York-based singer/actress who was internationally cyber-stalked for 6 years. Client has written
a non-fiction book detailing the experience and seeks legal counsel to provide an Advisory
Opinion Letter for the purpose of obtaining errors and omissions insurance.
Client is a museum
located in New York and is a not-for-profit with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Client uploaded
entertainment and educational videos to Client's online account on a video-sharing website.
Client contacted the company who licenses the video content and was told the licensing costs,
which exceeded $10,000, did not apply to Client as a 501(c)(3). After Client uploaded the
videos, the holder of the copyright of the video content filed a DMCA action, and the website
blocked Client's videos. The website cited Client for two violations; a third violation will cause
Client's account to be canceled.
Client believes it is being slandered because the website has posted on Client's account saying
the video contained copyright infringement. Due to the website's blocking of the videos, Client
has lost viewers and comments. Client attempted to contact the website and filed a DMCA
counter-claim. The website has not responded, and the video remains blocked. Client seeks the
assistance of an attorney to write a letter to the website and the holder of the copyright to explain
Client's right to use the copyrighted material and to unblock the video on its account.
13138 - On Review
(AP) posted Client’s photograph on AP’s website without permission from Client. Client has source
code and other evidence of use of photo. Photo printed with watermark of copyright. Client seeks
legal assistance to assess his options and get AP to take the photos down.
Client seeks legal
assistance in drafting a cease and desist letter and obtaining recovery of photographs potentially
through litigation. Client is the former owner and president of a fireworks company (the
“Company”). In his free time, Client took pictures at fireworks shows, some of which he permitted
the Company to use, without any written agreements, in its marketing material. In 2005, Client
suffered a brain-stem aneurysm and was hospitalized for almost a year. During that time a creditor
gained control of the Company and subsequently terminated Client’s employment. Two
employees, of the now creditor-owned company, entered Client’s home without his knowledge or
consent, took Client’s computer and photographs from his computer. Client sued the Company in
county court for the return of his property and won. The Company did not appeal and returned
Client’s computer. The Company proceeded to use more than a dozen of the Client’s photographs
in promotional material. Client insists that the photographs were not done in a work-for-hire
capacity; rather, the company usually hired a professional photographer to take publicity
Corporate - Back to
13137 - On Review
Client, a New
York fashion designer, is preparing to launch a new line of products that she is designing. She
seeks legal advice regarding the formation of LLCs, registering a trademark for her logo, and
contracts with factories to manufacture her products, especially non-disclosure agreements.
Client is a New York
resident who formed a non-profit film organization several years ago, but the organization
became inactive in 2001. The organization provided a means for international filmmakers to
exhibit their work but did not keep many formal records of their governance. Organization did not
pay any salaries and used all proceeds towards awards and expenses. Client began the process
of dissolving the organization with New York State with another attorney and is seeking to access
an account under the organization’s name to distribute unused funds to other non-profits. Former
counsel to client proved unreliable and charged significantly more than discussed despite
providing some work product. Client is unclear on what other steps are required to complete the
dissolution process and would like an attorney to guide her through it as well as assess the
possibility of sanctions or claims against former counsel.
*** Client is a visual artist
who is working on a new multimedia art magazine project. Client is seeking pro bono legal
assistance from a volunteer attorney for incorporation and trademark filing related to the
13142 - On Review
legal assistance incorporating a for-profit music company. Client requires legal counsel to help
client decide which entity to form.
13029 - On Review
Client is a
New York-based artist and designer operating a greeting card design and printing business. She
seeks legal advice regarding whether to operate as a sole proprietorship or to incorporate as an
LLC. Additionally, she seeks legal assistance incorporating if she decides to form an LLC for her
business. This case is related to VLA Case # 13028 (although a volunteer attorney is not
obligated to take on both).
Dispute/Litigation - Back to Top
Client, a filmmaker based
in New York and London, seeks to obtain possession of a large collection of original film and
audio items related to a film made by Client’s late uncle. Client would like to use footage from his
uncle’s film in order to restore it and use it in a new documentary. After the completion of the
film, the original film and audio items were shipped from London to New York. The items were
stored in a New York apartment, which was, and still is owned by Adverse Party, a poet and
acquaintance of Client’s uncle. Ownership of the copyright in the films was passed to Client (and
others) by Client’s grandmother. Client sought out Adverse Party to obtain permission to pick up
the items. Adverse Party allowed Client to briefly inspect the film items. Adverse Party has
stopped responding to or otherwise acknowledging Client’s attempts, and told Client that he
believed the items to be owned by the heir of the film’s subject. Client feels that there is a
significant danger that the film items will physically deteriorate, as they are not being properly
cared for. Client now seeks advice regarding possible options for taking possession of the film.
Client is a branding
consultant who brought branding and design work to Adverse Party (AP). AP stopped making
commission payments to Client for projects he brought to the studio in accordance with their
commission agreement. AP has made only the first out of 12 payments for this project. The
breach is over $40,000.
Client sued AP and the case is now in the discovery phase. Since Client's previous attorney
passed away, Client is in need of representation to handle the remaining part of the litigation.
This case is related to VLA Case # 13134, although the volunteer attorney taking on this case is
not obligated to take on both.
Client is an organization
with members consisting of a branding consultant and a photographer. Late last year, the
organization worked together with AP2 to create a magazine.
Client has been sued by AP for the amount of $100,000 for an alleged breach of contract
between Client and AP. However, Client was never a party to the negotiations or agreement.
Rather the agreement at question was between AP and AP2.
Client seeks legal assistance with litigation. This case is related to VLA Case # 13193, although
the volunteer attorney taking on this case is not obligated to take on both.
13097 - On Review
Client is a
musician, whose parents purchased a high-end cello in 2005 on Client’s behalf. The seller of the
cello (“AP”) claimed the cello was worth over $140,000, and Client’s family paid over $100,000.
AP did not provide a certificate of authenticity, and Client did not ask for one at the time of the
sale. In 2006, Client noticed deterioration in the sound quality of the cello. When Client tried
to sell it to dealers, they requested a certificate of authenticity and refused to engage with Client
without one. Client tried several times to get in touch with AP to request such a certificate. AP
finally issued a certificate of authenticity in 2009. However, the certificate incorrectly identified
the model of the cello in question.
Client continued to struggle to find a dealer interested in buying the cello. Many of the dealers
questioned the cello’s authenticity. In 2012, Client’s parents were finally forced to sell the cello at
an online auction for about half the original price. Client now seeks to bring a lawsuit
challenging AP’s fraudulent representations as to the cello’s authenticity, which caused
substantial monetary loss and emotional distress for both Client and Client’s family.
Dispute/Litigation/Negotiation - Back to Top
12806 - On Review
Client is a
New York based garment design company that holds several patents. Client specializes in apparel
designed to reduce chafing, including undergarments and legwear, with the goal of developing
other types of garments using the invented technologies. The products often use proprietary
fibers sourced from large fiber technology manufacturers. Client had an ongoing relationship with
one such manufacturer that was acquired by Adverse Party, a large industrial company. Client
entered into a licensing agreement to use Adverse Party’s proprietary fibers for a new line of
undergarments designed to reduce chafing, which Client believed would define a previously-
unexploited market. Client alleges that after entering into the agreement, Adverse Party used
Client’s extensive proprietary market research to develop a line of products designed for the same
market, using a slightly different fiber technology. Client alleges that Adverse Party shared Client’s
proprietary materials as well as Client’s trademarked package designs with third parties, and that
Adverse Party may have interfered with Client’s business relationships in order to keep Client’s
own line of products off the market.
Client seeks assistance from a volunteer attorney in pursuing any claims she may have against
Adverse Party, including but not limited to intellectual property infringement, misappropriation of
confidential and proprietary information, and tortious interference with business relationships.
Client does not allege patent infringement.
Client is a New York-based
non-profit organization, which encourages individuals to use theatre to portray and develop
solutions to life challenges. Client collaborated with Adverse Party, a New York-based recording
artist, to adapt Adverse Party’s song into a short film to further anti-bullying efforts. Client and
Adverse Party orally agreed to the collaboration after Client presented Adverse Party with the
idea for the film. Client and Adverse Party do not have a written production agreement. Client
assisted with casting, scouting filming locations, and writing the script. Client and Adverse Party
orally agreed that Client would not be entitled to financial gain from the film, but would receive
production credits and be entitled to future use of the film. After production of the short film was
completed, Adverse Party began demanding licensing fees, even though the parties had not
initially agreed to such fees. Adverse Party also proceeded with the project and sought to exclude
Client from further participation. Client offered to provide Adverse Party 100% of net ticket sales
from the film’s premiere in exchange for permission to exhibit the film. However, Adverse Party
unilaterally proceeded with the film’s premiere screening and distributed several free tickets,
resulting in a net loss of ticket sale proceeds. Now, Adverse Party and the film’s director each have
a physical copy of the film, but Client does not. Client seeks the assistance of an attorney to
negotiate a settlement to the disputed ownership of the work, and future rights to the film, or to
take legal action if necessary. Specifically, Client believes that it should, at minimum, have non-
exclusive rights to screen the film for educational purposes and receive 100% of proceeds of
future screenings arranged by Client.
Client's incomplete film is
being falsely advertised by unauthorized websites as being complete and available for free
online download via their sites. The domain provider for these unauthorized sites claims no
liability and therefore, no duty to comply with a prior removal request by the client. The film is
not registered for copyright or trademark protection. Client simply wants the sites to take down the
inaccurate posts, and to pursue no further legal action.
The clients are four
principals of a performing and visual arts venue and collective that was operating out of a
commercial space. The clients and various other artists lived at this premises and produced
musical and other performing arts events and curated visual art exhibitions there. There was no
certificate of occupancy or permits. The clients were the last in a long line of artistic types who
had resided at the premises. There was no written lease and the landlord collected the rent in
cash. The Fire Department and Police raided and barred the clients from the premises. The
landlord made a demand for money for legal costs incurred, for costs in remediating the premises,
code violations and for clean-up. The parties attempted to settle but were unsuccessful. Client
opened at a different location as a legal performance and visual arts facility, with studios and
artists-in-residence living in legal apartments. Last month, the landlord served the clients with a
lawsuit, essentially restating the previous claims.
Client is a NY-based jazz
musician and band leader who seeks legal advice regarding his copyright rights. Client previously
terminated a distribution agreement with Adverse Party, a music distributor, with the help of a
VLA pro bono attorney. Adverse Party acknowledged the termination via e-mail in July 2012.
However, after Client posted a video of his original music on YouTube, he received a notice
stating that Adverse Party licensed the content to a third party. Client seeks the assistance of
counsel to confirm termination of the distribution agreement with Adverse Party and prevent
further unauthorized licensing of his songs.
Client is a jeweler who
hired Adverse Party to produce and manufacture a collection of jewelry. Client paid Adverse Party
to produce jewelry pieces of a certain quality. Upon delivery, Client found that Adverse Party had
produced pieces of a much lower quality, including several pieces with a reduced amount of
plating, missing stones, the wrong type of plating, and the wrong size chains, among other non-
conforming elements. Additionally, Adverse Party often sent shipments late and to the wrong
locations, despite client’s clear, written, advance shipment instructions. Client has paid Adverse
Party approximately $45,000, not including additional consequential damages. Client seeks legal
assistance to resolve this dispute.
VLA will continue to provide assistance to the volunteer attorney taking on this case.
Employment - Back
Client is a New York-based
interior designer who was hired as an in-house designer liaison by a furniture showroom. After
working for eight weeks, Client was abruptly fired without explanation. At the time of his
termination, Client was owed four weeks of unpaid salary which has still not been paid after
numerous written requests. Client seeks the assistance of an attorney to recover his unpaid salary
and health benefits in the amount of $12,000. Client does not wish to pursue litigation, but is
open to various forms of resolution.
Immigration - Back
13096 - On Review
Client is a
screenwriter with an expiring O-1 visa. Client seeks legal assistance to determine whether to file
for a green card or another O-1 visa, and to help her file her papers. Client’s sponsor is an agency
that specializes in adapting existing works into film scripts.
Client is a European
pianist who works on a music production in the US. The production involves displaying classical
music in combination with visual art, and they plan to have their opening performance after the
summer. Client got her current US Visa (O-1) one and a half years ago. Client's sponsor is a
production company that she works with. Client seeks legal assistance with the renewal of the
current visa, which expires in December 2013.
Non-Profit - Back to
Client seeks legal
assistance reinstating the tax-exempt status for her non-profit dance company (the “Company”).
Client founded the Company ten years ago in Pittsburgh, PA. When Client moved to NY she left
the Company to another artistic director. The Company eventually became inactive, and the tax-
exempt status of the Company was revoked. Client would like to reinstate the Company’s tax-
exempt status federally and apply for tax exempt status in NY. Client also seeks legal assistance
filing the necessary paperwork to bring the Company to NY. The Company is a youth and
professional performance company, dedicated to dance education for youth and adults. The
Company will perform dance works that celebrate African-American life and culture and will
provide a greater presence of African-American contemporary dance to the North Bronx, White
Plains, and Westchester areas.
Client is the President of a
New York state domestic NFP organization. Client’s organization was formed in order to help
preserve, maintain, and transfer to a local library materials related to a sacred dance created by a
spiritual leader with an international following. Client’s organization was formed with assistance
from a related NFP entity in Philadelphia with a similar mission to that of Client’s organization.
Client’s organization does not currently have 501(c)(3) status. The organization is currently
suffering from internal conflicts, has no bylaws, no best practices, no reporting or administrative
procedures, and no formal budget. Further, the organization’s Board of Directors is comprised of
only Client and the organization’s treasurer, in contravention of New York state law requiring a
minimum of three Board members. The only formal document known to Client is a two-page
mission statement, which the organization’s treasurer will not release to Client. The organization
also has a corporate counsel, who along with the treasurer, refuses to cooperate with Client and to
act in the best interests of the organization, and has withheld invoice payments to vendors and
outside contractors over personal disagreements. Client seeks advice regarding the restructuring
of the organization and its Board of Directors in order to bring the organization in compliance
with state laws. Client would like to resign as President and wants to ensure that a qualified
replacement for him is found, and that the organization’s mission is carried out. Additionally,
Client inquired about what actions he is authorized to take as President in these circumstances,
and whether he could fire the corporate counsel without Board ratification or order payments to
the organization’s vendors.
13194 - On Review
Client is a
New York-based not-for-profit organization that produces opera shows and provides opportunities
to African-Americans and other minorities. Client has been inactive for some years, and has lost
its tax-exempt status after failing to make necessary filings and payments. Client seeks the
assistance of an attorney to renew its tax exempt status federally and in New York.
Client is a New York-based
501(c)(3) nonprofit that is dedicated to promoting public interest in classical music performance,
particularly among youth. The organization puts on concerts in public schools, as well as more
formal venues and supports the creation of new works by contemporary classical composers. The
organization received a substantial donation in early 2013. The representative of the
organization (“President”) is the founder, president, and classical pianist performer. Client seeks
advice on President’s compensation from these funds for serving as the president and as a
performer in the organization. The President would like to be paid on a per-performance basis.
The other members of the board will not be compensated and have indicated their approval of
President’s proposed compensation. Client now seeks legal assistance to determine the
appropriate amount that Client can be compensated in accordance with the law. Client also
seeks assistance in drafting and executing the necessary paperwork.
13174 - On Review
Client is a
not-for-profit organization that seeks to research, perform, and disseminate a specific genre of
music, and seeks assistance maintaining tax-exempt status. Client is incorporated under the laws
of New York. Client originally obtained non-profit status in 1986 with the assistance of VLA.
Client recently received a letter from the IRS stating that its tax-exempt status had been revoked,
referring to a prior letter that Client never received. Client seeks legal assistance re-obtaining tax
exempt status federally and in New York.
Client is a nonprofit which
was incorporated and received tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) in California in 1977. The
nonprofit obtained a certificate of approval to transact business in NY in 2009. Client currently
has zero board members. Client's annual operating budget is $0. In 2009 Client attempted to
present two concerts, but the concerts were cancelled due to insufficient funding. Because Client
committed to pay various pre-concert fees, the nonprofit may owe fees based on Client's
In addition, Client's founder has been in communication with a college to develop music
programming. The name of the nonprofit appears in the episodes's credits followed by the
copyright symbol, but it is unclear whether the nonprofit or the founder, as an individual, engaged
with the college to develop the programming content. It is also unclear to whom the intellectual
Client seeks the assistance of an attorney to address 1) contract obligations, 2) IP issues, and 3)
whether or not the nonprofit should restructure or dissolve.
13126 - On Review
Client is an
incorporated organization which seeks assistance filing for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Client’s
mission is to bring high-quality, professional theater to Northern Manhattan; and to provide
training and education to actors, directors, playwrights, and others involved in theater
Non-Profit start-up - Back to Top
13219 - On Review
*** Client is a
New York-based not-for-profit group devoted to supporting independent filmmakers. Client seeks
assistance incorporating and filing for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue
Service and with obtaining New York state tax exemption.
*** Client is a New York-
based unincorporated organization dedicated to empowering and enriching both youth and the
community through visual arts. The youth program participants are comprised of underprivileged
and “at-risk” youth populations, as well as criminal youth offenders, who will create artwork to be
exhibited publicly and donated to the community. Client seeks assistance incorporating as a not-
for-profit arts organization and obtaining tax-exempt status federally and in New York.
*** Client would like
assistance in incorporating and obtaining tax-exempt status for a New York non-profit organization
that aims to foster cultural exchanges between New York City and the Middle East through
architecture, design, and urban regeneration projects. Client seeks to revive underutilized public
spaces through activities such as research, design, educational programs, and exhibitions. Client
seeks legal assistance incorporating in New York State and filing for tax-exempt status federally
and in New York.
Nonprofit Start-up - Back to Top
12885 - On Review
Client, a New
York based cultural performance organization, formed as a non-profit organization in 1992 and
received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. At that time, their accountant advised them that unless their
income was above a certain threshold, they would not have any responsibility to file with the IRS
each year. Due to either a misunderstanding or a change in the law, this was not accurate for
recent years, and the IRS revoked Client’s tax-exempt status in May 2011 for failure to file for
three consecutive years. Client became aware of the loss of tax exemption last fall when a grant
application was rejected because of the lack of tax-exempt status. The organization seeks
assistance with reinstating the tax-exempt status.
Client would like
assistance in incorporating and obtaining tax-exempt status for a New York based organization
aiming to produce educational films. Client seeks the assistance of counsel to make the necessary
filings with the New York Board of Regents. Additionally, Client wants advice on how to create
this non-profit in such a way that establishes a relationship with his other NYS non-profit
education corporation chartered by the Board of Regents.
*** Client is a nonprofit
organization whose purpose is to be a symphonic orchestra for the lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and questioning (“LGBTQ”) community in New York City. Client will rehearse,
produce, and present performances of classical and popular symphonic music with specific focus
on LGBTQ composers. Client seeks the assistance of an attorney to help the group obtain
501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Client has already drafted a Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws
and seeks an attorney’s assistance to review and edit the documents.
*** Client is a New York-
based not-for-profit group devoted to cultivating and developing public interest in traditional
folklore, crafts, and customs of immigrant communities living in New York City. Client seeks the
assistance of an attorney to help the group incorporate in New York and obtain 501(c)(3) tax-
exempt status. Client has already drafted a Certificate of Incorporation and seeks an attorney’s
assistance to review and revise the document.
13151 - On Review
Client is a
music teacher who wishes to start a not-for-profit organization in order to put on a chamber opera
and other similar projects created by her and her colleagues. Client seeks legal assistance
incorporating in N.Y. and applying for tax-exempt status federally and in N.Y.
13117 - On Review
Client is a
musical start-up New York group, that seeks to commission new works and develop integral
relationships with emerging composers. Client seeks legal counsel to incorporate and obtain tax
exempt status in NY and federally.
Patent - Back to Top
Client is a fashion designer
who has created a fashion accessory that can be attached to certain types of footwear to give
them a more modern or stylish look. Client believes that the way in which the accessories attach is
original and may qualify for patent protection. Client therefore seeks legal assistance from a
patent lawyer who can assess whether this function can get patent protection and, if so, assist with
the application process.
13211 - On Review
*** Client is a
New York-based author who invented a unique format for presenting children’s storybooks. Client
seeks a patent attorney to assess whether his invention is patentable, and if so, to file a patent
application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
*** Client is a New York-
based visual artist who created a stylus for painting/drawing on a touchscreen tablet. Client seeks
the assistance of a Pro Bono attorney to execute a patent search and file a provisional patent
Client is an architect and
industrial designer who designed silverware specifically with ergonomic features to assist those
with limited dexterity. Client seeks pro bono patent prosecution assistance to assess whether the
invention is patentable, and to acquire patent protection of the invention, if the volunteer
attorney determines that the invention is patentable.
Real Estate /
Landlord/Tenant - Back to Top
13189 - On Review
Client is a
New York-based visual artist who had his artwork destroyed by a water leak that resulted after his
landlord renovated the floor above his apartment. The landlord never compensated Client for the
damages. Accordingly, Client filed a claim in New York Civil Court and served the landlord with
papers. Client is seeking an attorney to represent him in pursuing his claims against the
Trademark - Back to
13099 - On Review
Client is a
textile designer and patternmaker. Client created a logo for her design work and would like
assistance with registering the logo and her pattern designs with the U.S. Patent & Trademark
Wills, Trusts or Estates - Back to Top
13136 - On Review
prominent artist whose works are exhibited in NYC museums and galleries, seeks an attorney to
draft his will and assist with his estate planning. His paintings are very valuable, but he is
concerned that his estate will not have adequate liquid assets to pay estate taxes unless the
estate sells his art at greatly discounted prices. He wants advice on structuring his assets to plan for
paying estate taxes and protecting the value of his artwork. Client is considering distributing his
assets to his step-son upon his death.
Client is a United States
permanent resident and a citizen of the United Kingdom, who seeks a legal counsel to draft a
pour-over will and set up a living trust. Upon his death, Client would like to have a trust that can
sell and distribute all his art work and property, and subsequently use the proceeds for a
scholarship or equivalent. Client has no children or spouse. The majority of his assets are currently
located in the United States, both in New York and New Mexico. The bulk of his artwork
collection is work that is created by the Client himself.