Free/Low Cost Legal Resources
The forms and requirements of legal instruments vary from state to state. Therefore, it’s critical to find a lawyer in your state who understands your state’s requirements and writer-specific intellectual property matters.
This organization maintains an online list of volunteer providers of legal services in the US and Canada, organized by state and province.
Dwij Magazine hosts an older list of legal service providers in the US, which includes an additional Canadian listing.
Writers and other creative professionals located in states not covered by the lists in the previous two entries can obtain help through the Illinois-based Lawyers for the Creative Arts. Although the organization’s website focuses on assistance with court cases, they also handle routine matters such as wills, trusts, et cetera. Apply using their online form.
Lawyers for the Creative Arts also offers seminars on intellectual property-related issues throughout the year. Upcoming seminars are listed under Upcoming Events. In 2017 alone, they sponsored roughly sixty such events. Videos of past seminars can be found under the Resources menu under “Seminars and Videos.”
In addition, Lawyers for Creative Arts can arrange special programming for professional organizations in the Chicago area. Individuals and groups interested in arranging a general interest or targeted program should contact Lawyers for the Creative Arts Legal Director Marci Rolnik Walker at the phone or email listed on their Contact Us page.
Authors Guild members can obtain some legal services through the Guild, but not for wills or trusts (e.g., assistance with contract reviews, intervention in disputes, copyright advice, trademark advice, first amendment advice, and advice on domestic publishing agreements and agency agreements). The Guild can provide referrals to specialists in these areas. However, it has no control over the costs these specialists might charge their members.