Volunteer Lawyers
& Professionals for the Arts (VLPA)

The Arts & Business Council connects artists and arts organizations with the education, resources, and opportunities they need to thrive from their creative endeavors. To this end, the Arts & Business Council provides pro bono legal and business services to income-qualified artists and creative entrepreneurs of all disciplines, as well as emerging nonprofit arts organizations, through Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts (VLPA).

We provide legal services for artists, arts nonprofits, and creative businesses in Tennessee, including:

  • Drafting and reviewing contracts
  • Protecting your work with copyright and trademark
  • Resolving arts-related disputes
  • Nonprofit formation

VLPA also connects artists and arts organizations with skilled professional volunteers in these areas:

  • Accounting/Finance – whether setting up accounting and payroll systems, evaluating cash flow management, or budgeting and planning, our skilled volunteer accountants are here to help.
  • Computers & Information Technology – our IT volunteers conduct a needs assessment, work with you to address specific problems, and improve your organization’s technology systems.
  • HR/Personnel – these volunteers can help your organization evaluate and develop personnel, consult on hiring and firing best practices, and design board evaluation tools.
[My volunteer attorney] was not only professional in all my dealings with him but he also cared about my situation. Nowadays that’s a rare thing to find, and I am most grateful.” -Dan Demay, Musician

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, VLPA has amended its intake procedures and eligibility requirements in the following ways until further notice:

  • VLPA will waive our required service fees for artists and arts organizations suffering financial hardship, however, if you can support us with a membership, we humbly invite you to do so;
  • VLPA will expand its definition of “culinary arts” to include hospitality and service industry employees such as servers, bartenders, etc.;
  • VLPA will expand our services to offer guidance on insurance and labor & employment issues relevant and concerning during this unprecedented time.

I feel strongly about the arts and what they bring to the city and the public education system. I enjoy the opportunity to do work with the creative types and step out of the everyday grind that is practicing law.” – John Ray Clemmons, Chaffin & Burnsed, PLLC

Since opening as the Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in Fall 2006, VLPA has helped the arts community resolve nearly 4,000 legal and business matters. In 2017, VLPA reached a huge new milestone by providing over $3 million in free legal and business counsel to 2,500 artists and 450 nonprofit arts organizations.

Even if you don’t see your need listed above or aren’t sure whether you qualify, email or give us a call. We are here to help.

Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts, including the Bradley Black-Owned Small Business and Nonprofit Legal Clinic, is made possible in part by:

Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts is also being supported in part by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of Treasury.