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Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

200 S. Broad Street, Suite 700
Philadelphia, PA 19102

(215) 790-3836 ext. 1 (phone)
(215) 790-3790 (fax)
  • (215) 790-3836 ext. 1
  • Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (PVLA) is a non-profit legal services organization through which lawyers assist artists and cultural organizations throughout the greater Philadelphia area via legal representation, publications, advocacy, education and counseling.
  • Subject Matter Eligibility: Client must be an individual artist/inventor, arts collective, or arts & cultural nonprofit or for-profit organization with an “arts-related” legal issue. PVLA defines the term “art” broadly to include both traditional artistic disciplines (e.g. fine art, music, dance, theater, film etc.) as well as more modern forms of creative expression (e.g. animation, game design, user experience, web design, etc.). The types of legal issues handled by PVLA attorneys are widely varied, implicating a wide array of legal practice areas.

    Geographic Eligibility: Arts clients must have their primary residence or corporate headquarters within the greater Philadelphia area, which encompasses an 11-county region spanning Philadelphia County and the surrounding counties in southeastern PA, southwestern NJ and northern DE. Patent clients must have their primary residence or corporate headquarters in the state of PA.

    Financial Eligibility: Individual artist/inventor clients must have a household adjusted gross income that falls below 300% of the federal poverty guidelines for their household size (Arts Collectives are generally treated as groups of individuals for eligibility purposes). Arts Organizations must have an annual operating budget of $1 million or less. Liquid asset restrictions also apply.

    Clients who do not qualify for pro bono services may request educational materials, courtesy attorney referrals for paid or reduced-fee representation, or referral to other legal services organizations in Philadelphia or elsewhere.
  • By web application at For assistance call (215) 790-3836 ext. 1.
  • Legal services and educational programs for individual artists and arts and cultural organizations. PVLA volunteer attorneys provide legal assistance on a wide range of arts-related legal issues, including Administrative/Municipal Law; Arbitration/Mediation; Art and Entertainment Law; Bankruptcy; Censorship/Artistic Expression; Collections; Computer/Technology/Internet Law;
    Copyright/Licensing; Defamation; General and Management
    Agreements; Immigration; Insurance; Intellectual Property;
    International Law; Labor and Employment; Landlord-Tenant;
    Litigation; Nonprofit Law; Patent Law; Real Estate; Right of
    Publicity; Small Business Start-Up; Small Claims; Tax; Trademark; Trusts and Estates.
  • Legal-Line: A one-time-only telephone consultation between an artist or an arts & cultural organization representative and an attorney to discuss an arts-related legal matter. In a Legal Line consultation, the attorney will provide legal counsel and advice to the client, but is not obligated to take any additional action on behalf of the client. Legal Lines are available to artists and arts organizations and typically takes between 30 to 60 minutes. If a client still has unresolved legal issues following the completion of their Legal Line consultation, the client may contact PVLA to set up subsequent services.

    ArtFax: a one-time-only telephone or in-person consultation between an artist or arts & cultural organization representative and an attorney to review a one- to three-page legal document, such as a draft agreement, waiver or privacy policy. The attorney will provide legal counsel and advice to the client regarding the content of the document in question, such as suggesting additional or modified language or provisions. Any substantial redrafting of a legal document requested by the client would fall outside the scope of an ArtFax consultation. Any client in need of such services following conclusion of their ArtFax consultation should contact PVLA to request additional pro bono services.

    Full Service referral: For matters that cannot be resolved via consultation PVLA offers clients the opportunity to obtain referral to an attorney for Full Service Representation. In a Full Service case, the client is taken on as a pro bono client by a PVLA attorney for a limited scope of work established by PVLA through in-person meetings and discussions with the client. This attorney-client relationship is subject to all ethical and other requirements normally adhering to a paid attorney-client relationship. Examples of Full Service matters include negotiation, document drafting and filing, intellectual property registration, representation in court and litigation.

    PVLA’s Patent Pro Bono program provides restricted legal assistance (patentability counseling and patent prosecution) to qualifying inventors under a partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), following the implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011.

    PVLA’s Speaker’s Bureau program provides volunteer attorneys to speak to students and arts and cultural organizations on a wide variety of arts-related legal issues.

    PVLA provides many Educational Programs, both for arts professionals and as Continuing Legal Education programs for attorneys. PVLA also maintains a large Library of
    pamphlets on a wide range of legal issues.

    PVLA provides substantive and ethical training for new volunteer attorneys throughout the year.
  • Ryan W. Morris, Esq. (215) 790-3822