Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts

Rating: 4.46 stars   13 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture, Crime & Law

Location: 901 New York Avenue, NW Suite P1 Washington DC 20001 USA

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.

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

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!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

professional and knowledgeable.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

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.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

incredibly generous with their time.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

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

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

hopefully acquiring a major music licensing deal through negotiations from one of their attorneys.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The offer workshops to help striving artist understand the business side of the entertainment world.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

all professional.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

offer more programs to individuals.

Ways to make it better...

I had known about WALA sooner.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

raising ample funding to sponsor more outreach programs.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the legal help and education provided to artists in need

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

recruit more volunteers, raise more money, make more connections with local arts institutions.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the collegiality of the board and the thankfulness of those we have helped

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

thoughtful giving people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help artists, musicians, performers, and others in need with legal services they would otherwise not have; provide connections between artists and arts institutions to help expose these artists to the public.

Ways to make it better...

I had more people working with me so we could do even more.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

money, time, and help.

One thing I'd also say is that...

we do so much with what we have.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

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!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

establishing my business as an LLC, by receiving their legal guidance. And, recently, I received guidance in copyright procedures for a creative project that I am developing. The workshops that I have attended have contributed to my expertise in arts mgt.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The availability of the pro bono legal guidance, which I would not have been able to afford otherwise.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The directors, educational director, and lawyers. All very pleasant and professional.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Extend its staff and services to provide an even larger network of support. They may have space or logistic challenges, that I am not aware of, for meetings and workshops.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my professional art practice.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their promptness, attention to detail and the way they followed up after services were provided.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

prompt and well informed about who best to refer to me to address my needs.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 2 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

(see general comments)

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

(see general comments)

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

(see general comments)

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

(see general comments)

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

(see general comments)

Ways to make it better...

(see general comments)

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

(see general comments)

One thing I'd also say is that...

(see general comments)

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 2 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

ASSISTING WITH ONE HOUR OF LEGAL COUNSEL

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

REPOSITION ITS APPROACH MORE BROADLY AND HAVE OPTIONS WHERE THE LAWYERS GET AT LEAST PARTIAL FEE AFTER THE FIRST TWO CONSULTATIONS. OFTEN THEY CANNOT GET A LAWYER TO VOLUNTEER FOR MONTHS.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

THEY ORGANIZE GOOD PUBLIC SEMINARS

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

DIFFICULT TO REACH

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

OPERATE FOR 30 YEARS. THEY DO NOT NEED THAT MUCH MONEY.

Ways to make it better...

THEY HAD RESPONDED FASTER TO THE REQUEST, PERHAPS THEY NEED FULL-TIME STAFF

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

RE-ORIENTING ITS GOALS TO BETTER SERVICE INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS, THEY ARE STILL OPERATING AS THEY DID MANY YEARS AGO, FOR STARTERS A BETTER WEBSITE...

One thing I'd also say is that...

WALA AIMS TO FILL A VERY IMPORTANT GAP IN ASSISTANCE TO ARTISTS BUT NEEDS TO RE-STRUCTURE WITH MORE SPECIALIZED PERSONNEL, BETTER AND MORE SERVICES.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

incorporating my arts outreach company

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the immediate responses from both teh admin side and the lawyers we are working with. And their willingness to be as patient as possible as we ask millions of questions :)

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

helpful, fun to be around, patient, kind and quick!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

oh, the places it could go!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Getting our documents of incorporation filed, bylaws written, IRS paperwork ready to be filed.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

How friendly everyone is.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Well informed and generous with their time

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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