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Pro Bono Archives

August 31, 2009

Pro Bono Clinic at Actors' Equity Association

Elissa D. Hecker and Phillipa Loengard
EASL Section Pro Bono Steering Committee Members

On Monday, September 14, the EASL and IP Sections will be co-sponsoring a Pro Bono Clinic at Actors' Equity Association. The Clinic will take place between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. at 165 West 46th Street.

If you would like to volunteer for one or more of the 30 minute time slots, please email Elissa D. Hecker at eheckeresq@yahoo.com and specify your contact information (name, firm/company, phone number and email address), which time slot(s), area(s) of expertise, and whether you are an EASL and/or IP Section member.

If you do not have pro bono liability insurance, you may be covered under EASL and IP's policy for this Clinic. Please also notify Elissa if you need such coverage.

March 30, 2010

Free Copyright Seminar for Creators

Monica Pa of EASL's Pro Bono Committee, in conjunction with the Brooklyn Arts Council, is hosting a free copyright seminar for artists, musicians, writers, creators, and art organization at the Brooklyn Public Library in Bushwick. The two-hour lecture will cover basic copyright law, including what qualifies as a copyright, how to register a work for copyright protection, what constitutes fair use, copyright licenses and cease and desist letters.

Wednesday, March 31, 5:30-7:30pm
Brooklyn Public Library, DeKalb Branch
790 Bushwick Ave. at DeKalb Ave., Brooklyn

For more information, click on: http://www.brooklynartscouncil.org/documents/1390.

Monica Pa represents U.S. and foreign broadcasters, magazines, newspapers, and artists in the areas of libel, privacy, copyright, trademark, and other aspects of First Amendment, publishing, media and entertainment law. Ms. Pa has written and lectured on a range of entertainment law topics, including speaking on panels at the School of Visual Arts, the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and the CMJ Music and Film Festival. Ms. Pa is a member of the steering committee for the New York State Bar, Entertainment and Sports Law Section. She graduated magna cum laude from New York University Law School, where she received the Walter Derenberg Prize for Copyright Law.

Founded in 1966, BAC is the umbrella for Brooklyn’s range of cultural groups and individual artists working in the visual, performing, media and literary arts. BAC helps Brooklyn’s artist population–from the experimental to those preserving and evolving traditions of cultural heritage–create and present their work. BAC ensures that thousands of people throughout Brooklyn have access to a variety of free arts programming each year. The BAC Professional Development Seminars: Making Art Work series is generously sponsored by Brooklyn Community Foundation.

August 24, 2010

CREATIVE TIME--BRINGING CUTTING EDGE ART TO THE PUBLIC

Reminder: Register online at www.nysba.org/creativetime by September 8th

CREATIVE TIME--BRINGING CUTTING EDGE ART TO THE PUBLIC

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 | 6 pm - 8 pm

At the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
55 Fifth Avenue - Jacob Burns Moot Court Room,
(off lobby on the first floor) New York, NY
(between 12th and 13th Streets)

Co-sponsored by the EASL's Pro Bono and Fine Arts Committees along with the Cardozo Intellectual Property Program and Art Law Society

Program Description:
Creative Time is a cutting edge non-profit based in New York City that commissions innovative art in the public realm across all disciplines and across the globe. From the stunning Tribute in Light, the light installation which shines as an "ethereal surrogate for the absent towers," to Self-Roaming,the immersive and interactive cityscape created at Art Basel Miami Beach, Creative Time presents ground-breaking and challenging art that pushes culture into fresh new directions. Katie Hollander, Creative Time's Deputy Director, and Judith Church, Esq. from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, counsel to Creative Time, will present several of their projects and discuss some of the fascinating legal issues involved in exhibiting public art.

Come hear this exciting program with visuals and join us for refreshments!

Registration:
$10 for EASL Members and Non-Cardozo Law Students
$20 Non-Members

Free for Cardozo Law Students (must sign up at ipprogram@yu.edu)
Please register at www.nysba.org/creativetime by September 8, 2010
THIS IS A NON-CLE EVENT

September 22, 2010

Event Recap: Creative Time--Bringing Cutting Edge Art to the Public

By Stephanie Spangler

Held on September 15, 2010 from 6-8pm, this informative event was co-sponsored by EASL's Pro Bono and Fine Arts Committees, Cardozo's Intellectual Property Program, and the Cardozo Art Law Society. The program provided insight into the legal issues faced by non-profit art organizations aimed at producing and displaying public artworks. The panelists included Katie Hollander, Creative Time's Deputy Director, and Judith Church, Esq., from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and pro bono counsel to Creative Time. The moderators included EASL Chair Judith Prowda and Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair Carol Steinberg.

The evening began with Ms. Hollander's introduction of some of Creative Time's well-known and recent projects, which included Tribute in Light, a temporary 9/11 memorial co-created with the Municipal Art Society, Playing the Building, by Talking Heads artist David Byrne, and The Key to the City Project, by Paul Remirez Jonas, a project recently based out of Times Square. More information on Creative Time's projects can be found at its website (http://creativetime.org/programs/index.html ). What is most significant about Creative Time's work is that its projects aim to reach a broad array of the public. Hence, the projects have an inherent public artwork identity, and it is this apparent interaction between the artworks and the public that gives rise to potential legal issues.

Ms. Church then spoke on the legal issues about which she has advised Creative Time. She began with the the issue of whether the American Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to sculptures, especially where ADA compliance fundamentally alters the nature of the artwork. One of two examples Ms. Church used was the recreation of Freedom of Expression National Monument, by architect Laurie Hawkinson, performer John Malpede, and visual artist Erika Rothenberg. (See more information about the work at: http://www.creativetime.org/programs/archive/2004/freedom/ ). The main feature of this work is the gigantic, operative megaphone attached to a platform six feet above ground. Since access to part of the sculpture was only possible by traversing a twenty-one foot long ramp to the six-foot tall platform, the work was not initially ADA compliant. After negotiations with the City, the solution eventually was to alter the work by adding a pipeline that connected with the megaphone. However, this compromise raises fundamental issues regarding the nature of the artwork, and perhaps serious considerations artists must have if creating public works to meet ADA requirements.

A second legal issue related to the right of publicity. One work entitled It Is What It Is, by Jeremy Diller (http://www.conversationsaboutiraq.org/), which included a journey across America and engaging the public in conversations about Iraq. As the artist also documented this three and a half week trip, there were concerns regarding the right of publicity relating to the documentation. Ms. Church discussed the common law right of publicity, differences in statutory law in different states, and challenges with utilizing a release form versus release signage.

Ms. Church also discussed representation of third parties in works. As part of Creative Time's Democracy in America: The National Campaign project, one of the commissioned works was Revolutionary Love 1: I am Your Worst Fear, by Sharon Hayes (http://www.creativetime.org/programs/archive/2008/democracy/hayes.php). This piece required publication participation, and because of the politically charged material recited during a politically charged time, there were concerns about representations of these participants.

Finally, there were comments on determinations of reuse rights between Creative Time and the artist. There was also discussion on the importance of seeking the involvement of the Board of Directors to prevent Board liability when the project occurred in an uninhabited, unmaintained building.

Overall, the evening was an engaging discussion between Ms. Hollander and Ms. Church. The audience could quickly pick up on the collaborative nature between the arts organization and its pro bono counsel. The discussion lent itself to be more of a conversation between the two panelists which allowed the audience a better behind-the-scenes look at how the panelists work together on ensuring the projects come to fruition with as little legal strife as possible.

February 18, 2011

Pro Bono Update

"

"Dancing is like water, it floats away" -Merce Cunningham

EASL's Pro Bono Steering Committee Members Elissa Hecker and Carol Steinberg collaborated with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) to present a day long Saturday program on Legal Issues for Dance Companies in February, which generated unprecedented excitement and appreciation among the attendees and the panelists. The beauty of this program was that high level attorneys and innovators in the dance world donated their precious time to speak to the attendees about pressing legal issues that confront the dance community (see the program below for a list of speakers). Many of the attendees had been learning to enhance their professional development through NYFA's BUILD program, and were ready and eager for the legal advice that was given so creatively and generously. The attendance was terrific, and the feedback showed that the dance companies and choreographers who attended were grateful for the rich program (and want more).

Judith Prowda, joined by the Martha Graham Center's Artistic Director, Janet Eilber, gave the keynote address about the Martha Graham litigation and its lessons for dance companies today. The discussion highlighted the importance of determining ownership of the dance, having appropriate contracts to reflect this key decision, and protecting the legacy of the choreographer. The panels that followed on licensing and trusts and estates issues covered these key issues. The licensing panel, consisting of attorneys and an innovator in digital distribution of dance, provided essential legal information to the attendees in practical language. The next panel focused on protecting the legacy of the choreographer in a casual, yet extremely informative manner. Subsequent panels covered basics of setting up and running a business, with an exciting discussion of the pros and cons of using not-for-profit companies and, in the alternative, for-profit models for dance companies. The day concluded with a panel focused on using social media to maximize fan bases and audience attendance. Each panel found its unique and fascinating way to reach the attendees.

Feedback from those who attended showed that they greatly appreciated the advice they were given, and they want more. Their reaction highlights the need for more pro bono work to continue this wonderful process. For example, one attendee said that she needs pro bono counsel to work with her company on an ongoing basis. Another said that she learned so much and now has more questions (a good sign). More than one panelist said that this was the most enjoyable program they had been on or attended. Lane Harwell, Executive Director of Dance NYC (the service organization for the dance community) said, "It was a pleasure to be a part of this extraordinary event - so valuable to the dance community as it navigates legal hurdles and opportunities. Thank goodness there are lawyers out there who want to help! "

Kathy Kim, another Member of the Pro Bono Steering Committee and Stephanie Spangler, an EASL member, also worked behind the scenes with Caroline Camp of NYFA to make this event a success. NYFA's Peter Cobb, attorney, saxophone player, and Program Officer, provided magnanimous and invaluable support.
The attendees want more. Working with the dance community is an exciting and satisfying way to do pro bono work. Please be on the lookout for opportunities to participate through your email, the EASL Listserv, and/or the EASL Blog.

You will find this work as satisfying and enjoyable as we do.

*Introductory Remarks*
Michael Royce, Executive Director, NYFA
Peter Cobb, Program Officer, NYFA Learning/NYFA Consults, BUILD
Carol J. Steinberg, Esq., Co-Chair, EASL Pro Bono Committee; School of Visual Arts

* The Martha Graham Case: Determining Who Owns a Dance*
Judith B. Prowda, Chair, EASL Section, Senior Lecturer, Sotheby's Institute of Art, Law Office of Judith B. Prowda
Janet Eilber, Artistic Director, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

* Licensing: Contracting with Collaborators and Other Artists*
Cory Greenberg, Esq., Director of Operations & Special Projects, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Marc Kirschner, Founder and General Manager, TenduTV
Christine A. Pepe, Esq., American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP), Director of Legal Affairs

* Trusts and Estates: Protecting Your Legacy*
Timothy J. DeBaets, Esq., Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams and Sheppard
Jean Davidson, Executive Director, New York Live Arts, (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co. and Dance Theater Workshop Re-imagined.)
Terence Dougherty, Board Director and Corporate Secretary of New York Live Arts (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company Re-imagined); General Counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union; Commissioner of the Women's Refugee Commission
Daniel Scott, Esq., Chadbourne & Parke LLP

* Business Entities and Accounting: Innovative Solutions*
Innes Smolansky, Esq., Law Office of Innes Smolansky
Lesley F. Rosenthal, Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lane Harwell, Director, Dance/NYC
Brian S. Perkis, CPA

* How You Can Use Social Media to Build Your Brand and Avoid Some Legal Problems Along the Way*
Elissa D. Hecker, Esq., Co-Chair, EASL Pro Bono Committee; Law Office of Elissa D. Hecker
Erik Gensler, President, Capacity Interactive Inc.
Andrew Berger, Counsel: Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP

******************************************************************************
The Pro Bono Committee's Speakers Bureau also co-sponsored an event with Local 802, a member of the American Federation of Musicians, for a seminar on Legal Issues for Musicians. Christine Pepe, Director of Legal Affairs of the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) and EASL's Music Committee Co-Chair, provided the attendees with a helpful overview of copyright law and the components involved when musicians are taking steps to protect their own work or properly use the other artists' works. Harvey Mars, in-house counsel from Local 802, complemented this seminar by discussing legal issues commonly encountered by musicians in the union, such as the topic of practicing music in one's residence with unwelcoming neighbors.

June 14, 2011

Pro Bono Clinic

Elissa D. Hecker
EASL Pro Bono Steering Committee

On Wednesday, August 10th, the EASL and IP Sections will be co-sponsoring a Pro Bono Clinic at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). The Clinic will take place between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. at NYFA's offices in Dumbo, at 20 Jay Street, 7th Floor, Brooklyn.

If you would like to volunteer for one or more of the 30 minute time slots, please email me at eheckeresq@yahoo.com and specify your contact information (name, firm/company, phone number and email address), which time slot(s), area(s) of expertise, and whether you are an EASL and/or IP Section member. In addition to the usual entertainment, arts and business related questions that we receive from potential clinic clients, we are particularly interested in attorneys who have experience with incorporating and working with 501(c)(3) not-for-profit companies. Please so advise if this is an area of expertise for you as well.

If you do not have pro bono liability insurance, you may be covered under EASL and IP's policy for this Clinic. Please also notify me if you need such coverage.


October 14, 2011

Pro Bono Clinic

On Thursday, November 17th, the EASL and IP Sections will be co-sponsoring a Pro Bono Clinic at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). The Clinic will take place between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. at NYFA's offices in Dumbo, at 20 Jay Street, 7th Floor, Brooklyn.

If you would like to volunteer for one or more of the 30 minute time slots, please email me at eheckeresq@yahoo.com and specify your contact information (name, firm/company, phone number and email address), which time slot(s), area(s) of expertise, and whether you are an EASL and/or IP Section member. In addition to the usual entertainment, arts and business related questions that we receive from potential clinic clients, we are particularly interested in attorneys who have experience with incorporating and working with 501(c)(3) not-for-profit companies. Please so advise if this is an area of expertise for you as well.

If you do not have pro bono liability insurance, you may be covered under EASL and IP's policy for this Clinic. Please also notify me if you need such coverage.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Elissa D. Hecker
EASL Pro Bono Steering Committee
Past Chair, EASL Section

eheckeresq@yahoo.com

January 20, 2012

New Essential Reading by Lincoln Center's General Counsel

Good Counsel: Meeting the Legal Needs of Nonprofits

by Lesley Rosenthal
General Counsel, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York

"A treasure trove for nonprofit executives, attorneys, and board members. It's everything they would want to know, embellished with real-life stories, checklists, forms, and available resources."

--Hon. Judith S. Kaye, Chief Judge Emerita, State of New York

"Lesley Rosenthal has composed a score for nonprofit leaders and their legal advisors. Lively, comprehensive, and easy to understand."

--Wynton Marsalis

"Attorneys who want to make a difference by helping arts organizations pro bono must use this book as a cornerstone of their practices."

-Elissa D. Hecker, Former Chair, EASL Section, Co-Chair, EASL Pro Bono Committee

Buy Now From:
· Amazon.com - Discounted off the list price
· Barnes & Noble - Discounted off the list price
· Wiley & Sons

Good Counsel distills the unique legal needs of the more than 1.8 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States into a compact, personable playbook.

This is a must-read for nonprofit professionals and board members, as well as lawyers and law students. With focus questions, practice pointers, actionable checklists, work plans, and sample documents, the book and its companion website invite readers to:

· Energize the boardroom with role clarity and trustee engagement

· Boost fundraising activities

· Negotiate contracts that serve the organization's best interests

· Support a committed workforce with sound employment policies

· Strengthen the organization's name and protect its good works

· Understand the business model and applicable regulations

· Find the sweet spot for entrepreneurial initiatives

· Lobby effectively -- without crossing the line

· Start up or step up a network of legal supporters

April 11, 2012

EASL/IP Pro Bono Clinic at New York Foundation For the Arts

On Tuesday, May 15th, the EASL and IP Sections will be co-sponsoring a Pro Bono Clinic at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). The Clinic will take place between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. at NYFA's offices in Dumbo, at 20 Jay Street, 7th Floor, Brooklyn.

If you would like to volunteer for one or more of the 30 minute time slots, please email Elissa Hecker at eheckeresq@yahoo.com and specify your contact information (name, firm/company, phone number and email address), which time slot(s), area(s) of expertise, and whether you are an EASL and/or IP Section member.

If you do not have pro bono liability insurance, you may be covered under EASL and IP's policy for this Clinic. Please also indicate if you need such coverage.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Elissa D. Hecker and Kathy Kim
EASL Pro Bono Steering Committee

May 3, 2012

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's Speech - Law Day 2012

Thank you to Chief Judge Lippman for recognizing the need for pro bono counsel in NYS. The EASL Section is a leader in the NYSBA's efforts to promote pro bono among all of its members, and we will continue to do so through the Pro Bono Committee. Below are Chief Judge Lippman's remarks from Law Day, May 1, 2012.

Today on Law Day, we pause from our busy routines to celebrate our nation's faith
in the rule of law and the liberties we so dearly cherish. And we reaffirm the ideals of equality and justice that are the roots of our national prosperity.

While we enjoy the freedoms guaranteed to us by our Constitution, we cannot take
for granted that the continued vitality of those freedoms -- the very life of those freedoms -- depends on the active engagement of each of us. Those who are privileged to call ourselves lawyers have a special duty as the gatekeepers of justice to participate in preserving what we hold so dear.

With that in mind, my remarks today will focus on a most pressing responsibility for
all of us: instilling and fostering a culture of service in the men and women who enter our profession as lawyers each year. It is the legal profession's commitment to equal justice and to the practice of law as a higher calling that has made service to others an intrinsic part of our legal culture. The new protocols that I will announce today for admission to the bar in New York, will challenge every law student to answer very basic questions that are fundamental to the very fibre of the legal profession: How will you choose to benefit your fellow man and your community with your new skills? Will you use your legal acumen to foster equal justice in our state? Do you recognize that being a lawyer requires an understanding that access to justice must be available to all New Yorkers regardless of their station in life? From the start, these responsibilities of the profession must be a part of every lawyer's DNA - - to support the values of justice, equality and the rule of law that make this state and this country great.

We are facing a crisis in New York and around the country. At a time when we are
still adjusting to the realities of shrinking state coffers and reduced budgets, more and more people find themselves turning to the courts. The courts are the emergency rooms of our society -- the most intractable social problems find their way to our doors in great and increasing numbers. And more and more of the people who come into our courts each day are forced to do so without a lawyer.

The critical need for legal services for the poor,the working poor,and what has
recently been described as the near poor could not be more evident. Our Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services estimates that we are at best meeting only 20 percent of the civil legal services needs of New York State's low-income residents -- and this is at a time when 15% of the people in our state live at or below the poverty level. That means that literally millions of litigants each year are left to navigate our court system without the help of a lawyer.

Given the magnitude of this problem, and thanks to our partners in government in
the legislative and executive branches, the judiciary's budget has included substantial
funding for civil legal services over the last two years. I am proud of the fact that we have established a template in New York to publicly fund civil legal services for the poor in a systemic and reliable way. This year, the judiciary's budget includes $25 million to support civil legal service providers directly and another $15 million in rescue funding to IOLA -- the total of $40 million being the highest level of state funding for civil legal services in the country. These funds could not be more important given the economic crisis that has impacted most heavily on those who can least help themselves in our state and created greater demands for legal services than ever before in our history.

But we must do more to bridge the gap between this rising need and the services
we provide. While greatly increased state funding will go a long way to addressing the
desperate straits many litigants with limited means find themselves in, by itself, money is not enough. We need the continued individual efforts of lawyers doing their part. We are indeed fortunate that, in New York, so many lawyers are already embracing a culture of service. So many lawyers understand that it is their special responsibility to use their skills and their position to help ensure that we are providing for the justice needs of all New Yorkers.

Pro bono service has been part of the professional lives of lawyers for centuries.
It is deeply rooted in our traditions. Our own fabulous New York State Bar Association, as well as countless other bar associations around the state and the country, remind us of this.

For so many years, they have recognized our ethical and social responsibility to volunteer our time and resources to provide legal services for those in need.
These same considerations have become very much a part of the culture at law
schools as well. The conviction that serving the public is an essential component of our professional identity as lawyers has caught hold at law schools around the country. In fact, New York's practice rules -- like those of many other states -- allow law students to perform legal work under the supervision of law school faculty or legal service organizations,thereby enabling students to appear in court and put their name on court filings.

But, now it is time to connect these dots between the experience of law students on the one hand and the ongoing professional responsibility of lawyers to perform pro bono service on the other. If pro bono is a core value of our profession, and it is -- and if we aspire for all practicing attorneys to devote a meaningful portion of their time to public service, and they should -- these ideals ought to be instilled from the start, when one first aspires to be a member of the profession. The hands-on experience of helping others by using our skills as lawyers could not be more of a pre-requisite to meaningful membership in the bar of our state. So today, on Law Day, 2012, we turn over a new page in the bar admission process in New York -- by requiring each and every applicant for admission to contribute 50 hours of participation in law-related and uncompensated pro bono service before they can practice in New York State.

With this step, as it should be, New York will become the first state in the nation to
require pro bono service for admission to the bar. What better way to send the strongest message to those about to enter our profession -- assisting in meeting the urgent need for legal services is a necessary and essential qualification to becoming a lawyer. With this new initiative, New York will lead the way in stating loudly and clearly that service to others is an indispensable part of our legal training and that before you can call yourself a lawyer in New York, you must demonstrate in a very tangible way your commitment to the ideals of our great profession.

Every year, about 10,000 prospective lawyers pass the New York Bar Exam. While
50 hours of law related pro bono work would amount to little more than a few days of
service for each year of law school, the aggregate would be a half million hours each year that benefits New York and those in need of legal help. If every state in the country were to join us in taking up this mantle, that would mean at least two and a half million hours of additional pro bono work - - what a positive impact on persons of limited means, communities and organizations that would gain from this infusion of pro bono work.

And by doing so, we will not only benefit the clients who are in dire need of legal
assistance but, so importantly, we will also be helping prospective lawyers to build the valuable skills and acquire the hands-on experience so crucial to becoming a good lawyer.

There can be no argument that newly-minted lawyers are simply better at their jobs when they receive direct experience in the practice of law. By assisting a family facing eviction or foreclosure, by working with an attorney to draft a contract for a fledgling not-for-profit, by helping a victim of domestic violence obtain a divorce, or by using their legal talents to help state and local government entities in a time of economic stress, law students can access the real-world lessons that are so important to succeeding in legal practice and hopefully also experience the intrinsic reward that comes from helping others through pro bono service.

How will this new admission requirement work in New York? First, it will not be
solely the responsibility of law schools to provide pro bono opportunities, although there are law schools that already require some pro bono service to graduate, and most law schools today have an impressive array of clinical programs to offer their students. These students also may want to look outside the campus walls to legal service providers in their area and explore internships, or work with local bar associations to find pro bono possibilities. And while most applicants to the bar will want to complete their pro bono service during the law school years or over the summers, they will also have the option to do so after graduation, or even after taking the bar exam or after beginning a paid legal position in a law firm or elsewhere.

When applying to the Appellate Divisions for admission to the New York bar,
applicants will be required to include an affidavit describing the nature of their pro bono work, the organization and the individual lawyer who supervised them, and the dates and hours of service. In order to provide sufficient notice to current law students, this requirement will not affect the applicants seeking to join the bar this year. In New York, it is the Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court through their Committees on Character and Fitness that oversee and approve all admissions to the bar, and they will ensure that applicants have completed their pro bono service before they are admitted to practice law.

The Presiding Justices of each of the four Appellate Divisions have fully embraced this new pro bono requirement for bar admission in our state, and I am so grateful to them not only for their support but also for their advice and wisdom.

It is my hope that New York will serve as the trendsetter nationally in requiring pro
bono service for admission to the bar and in recognizing that it is an essential part of what it means to be a lawyer. Across the country, it is critical that we formally recognize pro bono service as an indispensable part of our legal culture. This will not only affect the way we as lawyers perceive ourselves -- it will also shape the way we are perceived in the wider community and the society in which we play such an important role. The legal profession should not be seen as argumentative, narrow or avaricious, but rather one that is defined by the pursuit of justice and the desire to assist our fellow man.

With today's announcement, we celebrate the thousands and thousands of lawyers who perform pro bono work in our state every year, and who have risen to the occasion time and time again to provide legal services and ensure access to justice for all. We honor their commitment to take on legal work for those most in need and pass that commitment on to a new generation seeking to practice law in our state, starting on day one - - helping to shape that generation with the values we all share as members of our noble profession, and I do believe it is noble. As far back as judges and lawyers have existed, the pursuit of equal justice for all, rich and poor alike, has been the hallmark of our profession. In New York, now more than ever before, we will make this moral imperative a reality before anyone is given the privilege and honor of practicing law in our great state.

Thank you.

May 4, 2012

Pro Bono Requirement to Join NY Bar


By Irina Tarsis

Few, if any, New York State law students know that May 1 is known as a Law Day, at least in the United States and among lawyers. Another curious fact law students may find noteworthy is that New York State may soon require them to work for free for 50 hours before being licensed to practice.

This year, on May Day or Law Day 2012, in his address to judges, lawyers and lawmakers assembled in Albany, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced that starting in 2013, the approximately 10,000 applicants to the New York State Bar will have to show that they have performed 50 hours of pro bono work to qualify for admission. The impetus for requiring thousands of hours of unpaid work from recent graduates comes from the undeniable fact that a growing number of people in New York State cannot afford legal services: artists and blue colored workers, veterans and single parents, victims of domestic violence and the elderly. Free legal service providers such as The Legal Aid Society, Pro Bono Partnership, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest have witnessed an increase in requests for free assistance with civil legal matters since the economic downturn. The courts have noted that the legal system is failing to provide justice to those unable to afford legal counsel. Lippman believes that the requirement would begin to satisfy the unmet need for lawyers to represent the poor and encourage lawyers-to-be to serve the public.

As a member of EASL's Pro Bono Committee, I agree that it is important to provide assistance to those who need it for reasons other than personal financial enrichment. We already offer free services for some transactional and litigation matters and provide opportunities to law students and recent graduates to shadow experienced attorneys performing pro bono work. However, making pro bono work mandatory may not be the best way of encouraging attorneys to help.

The same economic conditions that have forced more people to seek free representation have left hundreds of recent graduates with little work prospects (for more, read about legal actions brought by law graduates against their schools, such as: "Grads Can't Sue Law School for Allegedly Inflating Job Data," Bloomberg BNA (April 11, 2012 available at http://www.bna.com/grads-cant-sue-n12884908890/) or the state of law firms such as Dewey and LeBoeuf in the New York Times ("For Law Students, Dewey & LeBoeuf Internships Evaporate" (May 3, 2012) available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/business/derailed-on-the-fast-track.html)). Legal positions advertising for junior attorneys are consistently asking for 3 to 5 years of legal experience. The conundrum is obvious. If the newly graduating attorneys can be put to use in helping the poor, they would gain hard legal skills and perhaps become employable in a few years time; however, they require training, supervision and means to survive.

Some of the concerns with the Lippman initiative include whether the State may be pairing poor people with lawyers who resent the task; should the State settle young lawyers, already in debt and struggling to find jobs with additional obligations and blocks to bar admission, what are the benefits of relegating representation of the indigent to inexperienced and thus underqualified counsel?

Law school administrators in New York State are faced with these questions: How may law schools assist in bridging the gap and increase free legal services to the indigent? How can the schools make their graduates more marketable and employable after three years of classroom training?

To provide quality pro bono work as contemplated by Lippman's announcement would require supervision and training either at schools with experienced clinical faculty, at understaffed and underfunded free legal service providers, or at firms, ever-reticent to foot the bill for loss-making work. The hidden costs of such training by nonprofits will have to be addressed either through increased tuitions or through state funding - another conundrum. An optimist would argue that in light of the importance placed on clinical education and practical skills, students are likely to embrace the new requirement. A realist would hedge and say that students would be open to taking on more extracurricular activities only if they can fulfill the requirement while in law school or if they are guaranteed employment subsequently. According to Lippman, admission to New York state bar is "most coveted;" however, even that coveted license gives no guarantees.

Sources:

Anne Barnard, "Top Judge Makes Free Legal Work Mandatory for Joining State Bar," THE NEW YORK TIME (May 1, 2012) available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/02/nyregion/new-lawyers-in-new-york-to-be-required-to-do-some-work-free.html.

Joel Stashenko, "Lippman Announces Pro Bono Requirement for Bar Admission," NY Law Journal (May 1, 2012) available at http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/PubArticleNY.jsp?id=1202550864281&slreturn=1.

January 16, 2013

Pro Bono Clinic February 24th

On Sunday, February 24th, the EASL and IP Sections will be co-sponsoring a Pro Bono Clinic at Dance/NYC's 2013 Symposium. The Clinic will take place between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at Gibney Dance Center (890 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, NY).

If you are a member of either the EASL Section and/or IP Section of the NYSBA and a licensed attorney and would like to volunteer for one or more of the 30 minute time slots, please email me at eheckeresq@eheckeresq.com and specify your contact information (name, firm/company, phone number and email address), which time slot(s), area(s) of expertise, and whether you are an EASL and/or IP Section member. We are looking for volunteers with experience in the following general areas: Entertainment, Intellectual Property (copyright and trademarks), Licensing, Corporation/Incorporation (please specify if you have not-for-profit incorporation experience), and Collaboration Agreements.

If you do not have pro bono liability insurance, you may be covered under EASL and IP's policy for this Clinic. Please notify me if you need such coverage.

For your information, Dance/NYC's 2013 Symposium will explore the role and reach of New York City dance, and dig deep into the current circumstances of funding, touring, marketing, and education. Envisioned as a meeting of stakeholders--advocates, funders, policymakers, artists, managers, scholars and audiences--the event's primary goals are to: stimulate awareness, interest, and ongoing engagement in NYC dance; share innovation and develop collaborative advocacy, marketing, management, and creative models and information for use by the dance community; generate dialogue and forge dynamic partnerships among individuals and across nonprofit, government, and private sectors.

The 2013 event will make use of Gibney Dance Center's seven dance studios for main sessions, open level master classes, a networking lunch and reception, and more.
Thank you,

Elissa D. Hecker
EASL Pro Bono Steering Committee
eheckeresq@eheckeresq.com

January 20, 2015

EASL Pro Bono Clinic - Sunday, February 22nd

On Sunday, February 22nd, the EASL and IP Sections will be co-sponsoring a Pro Bono Clinic at Dance/NYC's 2015 Symposium (https://www.dancenyc.nyc/dancenyc-events/2015/02/DanceNYC-Symposium-2015/) . The Clinic will take place between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at Gibney Dance Center (280 Broadway, entrance at 53A Chambers St, NY, NY).

If you are a licensed attorney and would like to volunteer for one or more of the 30 minute time slots, please email Elissa Hecker at eheckeresq@eheckeresq.com and specify your contact information (name, firm/company, phone number and email address), which time slot(s), area(s) of expertise, and whether you are an EASL and/or IP Section member. We are looking for volunteers with experience in the following general areas:

· 501(c)(3) vs. LLC/Corp structure issues, choice of entity for incorporation- for- vs. not- for-profit (please specify if
you have not-for-profit incorporation experience)
· Basics of corporate setup (i.e. filing in the state, agent for service of process, EIN no., insurance, etc.)
· Agreements in general, including collaboration and ownership, performer, film crew, independent contractor language, etc.
· Copyright questions for choreographic works, protection of choreography
· Licensing - music, choreographic works, and other intellectual property clearances, live performance vs. recorded rights
· Business related, general contract questions
· Development of a website, use of social media
· Fair Use issues
· General entertainment
· Intellectual Property (copyright and trademarks)

If you do not have pro bono liability insurance, you may be covered under EASL and IP's policy for this Clinic. Please notify Elissa Hecker at eheckeresq@eheckeresq.com if you need such coverage.

Thank you,

Elissa D. Hecker and Kathy Kim
EASL Pro Bono Steering Committee

February 1, 2016

Upcoming /IP Pro Bono Clinic - February 28th

Information about the upcoming Pro Bono Clinic is available at http://www.nysba.org/EASLHomePage/

January 23, 2017

EASL Speakers Bureau/New York Foundation of the Arts Program: Your Art Will Outlive You - How to Protect it Now!

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and New York State Bar Association Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law Section's Fine Arts and Pro Bono Committees recently joined forces to present a panel about how to preserve and extend a creative legacy after the creator's death. The event was co-moderated by art law professionals Judith Prowda and Carol Steinberg with esteemed legal panelists Elisabeth Conroy, Declan P. Redfern, and Peter Arcese with Alicia Ehni of NYFA Learning.

Estate Planning 101: Advice Provided to Creators

Start planning now. Think about creating a will so that your loved ones are guided by you in making the decisions about your creative work. Wills can be amended and revoked at any time.
Protect your loved ones by making specific bequests in their names, or by setting up a testamentary trust that distributes all or any portion of your estate upon your death.
Think further ahead. You can set up a foundation to maintain an archive of your life and art; support other artists, initiatives, or institutions; and provide and foster scholarship about your work. Notable examples include the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Key Takeaways

Trust the people that are going to be handling your estate, and select people who understand you and the content and rights of your work.
Keep good records of your creative output throughout your career: Part of what you can do today is to start creating a history of your work. This is of special importance when concerning authentication and helps to preserve the personality of the artist moving forward.
Make clear, precise instructions for those who will be carrying out your estate plans to discourage potential disputes.
Ownership of copyright in your artwork (reproduction rights, etc.) is separate from ownership and or possession of the artwork itself, so it is important to think about who will manage the copyright in the work as well as the work itself.

Helpful Legal Terms

Testator - one who makes a will
Will - a legal document in which you, the testator, declare who will manage your estate after you die
Fiduciary - a personal representative who manages and protects your property or money
Executor - the person, persons, or institution named in the will to manager your estate; be sure to designate someone with legal or financial acumen
Witness - the person who observes the execution of a legal document and authenticates it with his or her signature; the person cannot be the executor or attorney and must be someone who is not receiving anything from your will
Valuation - the process of determining the value or worth of an asset, also used as a synonym for appraisal
Bequest - gift of personal property or possessions by will
Trust - a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another
Foundation - a permanent fund established and maintained by contributions for charitable, educational, religious, research, or other benevolent purposes
Copyright - a form of intellectual property that protects creative works for a limited time and gives the copyright holder (typically the creator), the exclusive right to reproduce, create adaptations, distribute, perform, and display
Authentication - the act or mode of giving authority or legal authenticity to a statute, record, or other written instrument or a certified copy thereof

Additional Resources

Courtesy Barbara T. Hoffman, Esq.: A Visual Artist's Guide to Estate Planning (http://www.hoffmanlawfirm.org/Publications/A-Visual-Artists-Guide-to-Estate-Planning-The-Marie-Walsh-Sharpe-Art-Foundation-and-The-Judith-Rothschild-Foundation.pdf), based on a conference co-sponsored by The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation and The Judith Rothschild Foundation, and 2008 Supplement Update (http://www.hoffmanlawfirm.org/Publications/A-Visual-Artists-Guide-to-Estate-Planning-The-2008-Supplement-Update.pdf); see also www.hoffmanlawfirm.org

VLA provides pro-bono arts-related legal representation and education to low-income artists and nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. VLA's Artists Over Sixty program provides legal services and education to senior artists to address age-specific legal and business issues.

June 27, 2017

The Copyright Alliance is Seeking Pro Bono Clients

The Copyright Alliance is again partnering with New York based Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP on a program to provide free legal representation to individual creators and small businesses in lawsuits involving cutting edge copyright issues. Through this initiative, Columbia Law School students, under the supervision of Cravath attorneys David Marriott and David Kappos, will provide pro bono legal counsel to individuals and small businesses on copyright cases.

We're currently looking for creators and small businesses who have a copyright dispute and may be interested in participating in the program. Please click here for more information: http://copyrightalliance.org/resources/creator-services/pro-bono-trial/

About Pro Bono

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in the Pro Bono category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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