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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Crime & Law, Legal Services

Mission: WALA was created in 1983 to serve the many legal needs of the cultural community, from advice on incorporation to negotiation of contracts and arts mediation. The organization offers one-to-one pro-bono services for non-profit arts organizations and low-income individuals. Its education program provides seminars in arts law for artists and the attorneys who represent them.

Programs: Wala currently has active members who have access to client legal referral services and legal educational programs. Referred several hundred artists to attorneys for pro-bono assistance.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

WALA does a fantastic work and I would like to share my story about WALA with others. I am an artist who was seeking legal advice about an innovative product I designed. I had consulted 3 lawyers on my own, one more expensive than the other. Just as I was resigned to the fact that I could not afford to protect my invention, I heard about WALA through an art gallery. The very same day I became a WALA member and told them about my case, their Legal Services Director got in touch with me. Within 2 weeks I was assigned to a very helpful and knowledgeable lawyer who worked hard and passionately on my case. I joined WALA on September 9, 2009, my patent application was submitted to the Patent Office on November 3, 2009, less than 60 days! Throughout this time I never had the feeling that this was being done Pro Bono, on the contrary I was given the red carpet treatment, the lawyer was on top of things, he went out of his way to meet with me (even after normal working hours) and constantly communicated with me explaining all the process. I was always treated with an incredible amount of respect and professionalism by WALA and by the lawyers they work with. I am very grateful to WALA and their team because it is almost economically impossible for an artist to get a patent, particularly in rough economic times like this. Fortunately for artists WALA is here to help us and educate us. Bravo for WALA! Thank you so much!

8

Former staff

Rating: 5

As a former staffer at WALA, I have seen the organization through many changes. What has remained consistent over the years is the dedication of WALA's Board of Directors, and the incredible generosity of the legal community in Washington. There are always more volunteers available than there are cases to place. The legal community in Washington understands that sometimes the legal assistance they can provide to an artist or arts organization makes the difference in whether they survive another year or not.

11

Donor

Rating: 4

I am a recording artist and I needed an attorney to represent me in a licensing deal with a major movie production company. WALA recommended a capable attorney for me and the experience the attorney has been excellent. The deal has not been finalized yet but it is looking good and I have learned a lot. Thanks WALA

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

WALA helps so many local artists in need by arranging free legal assistance they could not otherwise afford, and providing education to artists on a variety of topics. The board comes from the arts community and the legal community, raising money principally from law firms who appreciate that local artists need this support to be able to do their magic and create works that inspire us all. As a member of the board for many years, I am constantly amazed at the energy and resourcefulness of this diverse community of busy people and what they accomplish, the great leadership, the fun we have doing what we do, the connections and friendships we have formed, and the good will created in the arts, legal, and general DC metropolitan communities. I expect WALA to continue to grow and provide even more to the community and look forward to being a part of this growth.

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

WALA provides unique and greatly needed services for the arts community. Throughout the years WALA has provided expert legal guidance during my business transitions, and with my creative projects. I have learned a great deal in attending various workshops. Everyone associated with the WALA team, staff and lawyers, have always been very helpful, kind and professional. The organization is constantly exploring ways to support members in networking with peers and fulfilling their goals. Thank you WALA!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

WALA provided me with badly needed advice through one of its member attorneys. The issue involved an intellectual property dispute and the counselor took a passionate and constructive stance. The issue was resolved without a protracted and destructive legal process.

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

Events such as seminars and workshops are extremely infrequent. The group engages in very little outreach and/or collaboration with area arts organizations in film, music and art. There is no regularity to newsletters, and event confirmations are not centralized thus resulting in sometimes never getting them (depending on who is organizing the event) or finding ambiguities with regard to start time/location. There is no apparent relationship with DC government. Finally, the so-called "income qualification" criteria for making use of WALA's primary mission is indeterminate, probably discriminatory and (because of privacy reasons) simply unadministerable. It should be done away with like in other major cities' parallel programs.

7

Client Served

Rating: 2

WALA can be helpful is you have the patience to wait for the turnaround time, sometimes over a month. It may be that they are understaffed and perhaps underfunded. The concept is a good one.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have nothing but glowing things to say about WALA. I am so thankful for not only the lawyers who donate their time to help those of us in the arts but also all of those who are behind the scenes making it all happen. I am in the process of incorporating an arts outreach company in DC and within a few weeks of asking WALA for help they had found us 2 amazing lawyers who have been nothing but giving, kind and all around great people to work with. We are so close...and when I think of where we would have been on our own...I am incredibly thankful.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

WALA's educational programs were very helpful in understanding what we needed to do to become a 501c3, then to prepare the materials our attorney would need to help us. The attorney WALA found us has been very helpful and encouraging through the whole process.