Volunteer Lawyers
& Professionals for the Arts (VLPA)

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

[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

VLPA helps artists and arts organizations of all disciplines including painters, musicians, playwrights, authors, photographers, songwriters, graphic artists, dancers, filmmakers, actors, poets, sculptors, craft organizations, theater companies, visual arts organizations and others pursuing or supporting artistic endeavors.

We provide legal services for artists and arts organizations, including:

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

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

unnamedPlus, VLPA connects arts organizations with annual budgets of $1,000,000 or less 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.

**Please note: Due to a high volume of requests, VLPA is not able to provide referrals for non-attorney professional volunteers (i.e., for accounting/finance, information technology, or human resources) at this time. We hope to provide referrals for these services again in the near future.**

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.

The VLPA program is made possible, in part, through the generous support of: