PVLA services include

A Legal Line is a one-time-only telephone consultation between an artist (or representative of an arts or cultural organization) and an attorney to discuss an arts-related legal matter. In a Legal Line consultation, the attorney provides legal advice only and not obligated to take any action on behalf of the client. Legal Lines are available to artists and arts organizations and typically takes between 30 to 60 minutes. If it is not possible to resolve the issue with just a Legal Line, the client may contact PVLA to set up a subsequent service.

Alternatively, if the arts client wishes to contract with the attorney to do legal work beyond the scope of the assigned Legal Line, that engagement will not involve the PVLA program. In that instance, the attorney will enter into a separate retainer agreement with the client and notify the client of the proposed charges for the additional legal work outside of the Legal Line consultation.

Like a Legal Line consultation, an ArtFax is a one-time-only telephone consultation on an arts-related matter between an arts client and attorney. ArtFax consultations are available to an artists or arts and cultural organizations.

In an ArtFax consultation, an attorney provides a review of a one- to three-page legal document by a PVLA volunteer attorney, such as a draft agreement. The attorney will provide legal advice regarding the content of the document in question, such as suggesting additional provisions that would further protect the parties to the agreement and modifications to existing language.

If the client requests the attorney to substantially redraft a document, the work will fall outside the scope of the ArtFax consultation. The attorney will need to enter into a separate retainer agreement with the client and notify the client of the proposed charges for the additional legal work.

For matters that cannot be resolved with a single telephone call between a client and a PVLA volunteer attorney, the PVLA program provides Full Service Representation referrals. In Full Service Representation, the client becomes a full-fledged pro bono client of the attorney, and the relationship is subject to all ethical and other requirements of every attorney-client relationship.

Examples of Full Service matters include litigation, negotiation, document drafting and filing, and representation in court. Accepting Full Service representations is an exciting and valuable way for attorneys, particularly attorneys newer to the profession or to a particular practice area, to gain hands-on experience in areas such as copyright litigation and contract drafting.

PVLA finds attorneys to speak on a wide variety of legal topics for many organizations across the Greater Philadelphia Region. Learn more »

PVLA will issue a list of several attorneys who may assist at a reduced rate.

For Legal Professionals

Attorneys take on projects as vast as the creative community itself, including:

  • Securing patent assistance and protection for low-income artists, makers, startups and entrepreneurs;
  • Negotiating performing contracts for actors, dancers and musicians; protecting copyrights and trademarks;
  • Preparing by-laws for newly formed nonprofits;
  • Negotiating short- and long-term workspace leases and exhibition agreements; and
  • Setting up new community-wide arts initiatives, to name a few.

There is a one-time participation fee of $300 per participant. Many firms and companies subsidize this fee, recognizing that having employees involved as PVLA volunteers offers both professional development opportunities and a way to enhance the firm’s presence in the community.


You can apply online. Before you begin, please be sure you have an updated resume available electronically—you will be prompted to upload your resume into the application.

Once we receive your application, we will contact you to schedule an interview to discuss your interests and skills as they relate to Philadelphia Volunteers Lawyers for the Arts.


Please check back for our next orientation date or contact Ryan Morris, Esq. at (215) 790-3822 or [email protected] for more information.

For Artists and Arts + Culture Organizations

Securing legal protection and support for your mission need not be cost prohibitive or difficult to obtain. Join the more than 260 arts, culture and heritage organizations working with ABC to engage untapped networks of support for your staff, board and community. New skills and strategies can keep your organization on the cutting edge. If you’re an arts manager who could benefit from a fresh perspective or additional legal expertise, then PVLA is for you. Arts and culture organizations pay an administrative fee to the Arts and Business Council when a PVLA volunteer is placed. The fee is:
  • $50 – Artfax/Legal Line
  • $75 – Full Service for an Individual Artist
  • $100 – Full Service for an Arts Collective
  • Full Service for an Arts + Culture Organizations:
    • $175 – Operating Budget < $500k
    • $250 – Operating Budget $500k – $1M

The Speaker’s Bureau

The Speaker’s Bureau service provides the arts community with access to our region’s top lawyers and legal expertise on a wide range of topics.

Program Information: The purpose of the application is to gather as much information from you as possible so that we can make the most appropriate speaker assignment for your needs and requirements. Please take the time to consider and respond to the folowing three questions as fully as possible. The more detail you provide the better we can serve you.

  1. Who is the audience you would like to address:
    Our anticipated audience is made up of…tell us the anticipated: size, type and background of your audience.
  2. What specific interests or topics should be addressed by this speaker or event?
    The specific topics to be addressed are…
  3. What specific expectations do you have for this event and what information or new knowledge should the attendees have upon its completion?
    Our specific expectations include…

Program Fees: The fees for Speaker’s Bureau activities are charged on a sliding scale based on the size of your organization, your ability to pay, and the scope of the program you are requesting. Our suggested fees range from $150 to $300 per program. If you have an extenuating circumstance or need subsidy to suppport your request, please let us know in advance.

For Law Students

The region’s law students help handle PVLA referrals by serving as Legal Service Coordinators (LSCs). LSCs gain great experience by interviewing arts clients, consulting with volunteer attorneys to refer clients, and managing and tracking the progress of the services provided by the PVLA program. Law students develop a knowledge of arts law, obtain client contact experience, and complete a writing or other organizational project.

The PVLA program hosts part-time Legal Services Coordinators each fall and spring semester. Most semesters there are between 4 – 6 positions available. Although the positions are part-time, the Legal Services Coordinators must commit to a regular schedule of at least 10 – 12 hours each week.

During each summer, the PVLA program hosts four full-time Legal Services Coordinators. In some cases, the positions can be work study appointments as well as fellowships. All law students must have completed at least one year of law school prior to serving as a Legal Services Coordinator. We look for law students who have the ability to communicate effectively and maintain a high level of professionalism while dealing with clients and volunteer attorneys. Some knowledge of arts-related legal issues is preferred. PVLA hires Legal Services Coordinators three times a year (in line with law school’s Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters). To apply for a position as an LSC intern, interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Ryan Morris, Esq., [email protected].


As of October 2010, our PVLA service application process includes proof of income documents and a nonrefundable application fee. These materials are only required if an artist or arts or cultural organization would like to apply to be matched to an attorney for pro bono legal representation or advice. These materials are unnecessary for those clients who would like to request a referral list or educational materials. Application fees may be waived upon showing of hardship.

For more details on our application process, please contact us.

The initial application fee for a consultation service (Legal Lines or ArtFaxes) is $50. Full Service representation carries a $75 fee for individual artists, $100 fee for arts collectives, and a $175 fee for qualifying NPOs. Additional fees, fee credits, and waivers are at the discretion of the Director. In Full Service representation, although the volunteer attorney’s time is pro bono, you will still be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs such as filing fees, postage, etc.

  • Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations with an annual budget of $1 million or less
  • Artists whose gross income is $35,000 or less per year ($55,000 for a married or cohabiting couple) with a $3,000 credit per dependent
  • At the discretion of the Director, unincorporated artist groups (each member’s individual gross incomes must be $35,000 or less per year)
If you, or the organization you represent, do not qualify for pro bono representation because of income/ budget levels, then you will still be eligible for referral Courtesy Attorney List.
Volunteering with PVLA is not limited to arts and entertainment lawyers. We seek the expertise and assistance of attorneys from diverse background who have expertise in any number of practice areas including but not limited to business, tax (individual and nonprofit), bankruptcy, litigation, real estate, copyright, trademark, and insurance.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Ryan Morris, Esq., [email protected].


Volunteer Attorneys may contact Ryan Morris, Esq., Director of Volunteer Services, at (215) 790-3822 or [email protected].

Prospective clients may contact one of our Legal Services Coordinators at (215) 790-3836 x 1 or [email protected].

Support Legal Services for the arts! In 2018, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts worked on 130 projects and provided approximately 3,600 hours of service with the generous and invaluable help of volunteers like you. Together, we generated over $1,350,000 in volunteer legal services to our region’s creative community. Please consider making a donation to PVLA so we can continue to support the region’s arts and culture community. With your help we can establish a sector that prides itself on both its creativity and its excellent management capabilities.

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