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Serving the Creative Arts Community Since 1974


If you are a creative artist, an arts organization, an inventor — or anyone with an arts or innovation-related legal question — California Lawyers for the Arts would like to help you find qualified legal counsel to assist with your legal matter. 

CLA's State Bar Certified Legal Referral & Information Service [LRIS] has been serving the creative arts community since 1974. We provide service in all 58 counties in California. Let us find you a well-screened, highly-qualified attorney who will work with you to solve your legal issue in a professional manner. To learn more about the patent pro bono program, CIAP, review this page and then visit: CIAP.

STEP 1: Intake

If your adjusted gross income on your IRS 1040 Income Tax Return 'is not' near the federal poverty guidelines, use the online Request for Referral Form below or call TOLL-FREE 888-775-8995 to begin the regular referral intake process. Talk to one of our friendly trained staff who will help you through the intake process step-by-step. A referral administrative fee of $20 is charged for members of CLA. Non-members pay $35 (but you can join CLA at the time of the referral and save the extra $15 that non-members pay).

STEP 2: Financial Screen

If your adjusted gross income on your IRS 1040 Income Tax Return is 'near' the federal poverty guidelines you 'may' qualify for one of our pro bono or modest means programs. If you would like to apply for assistance under one of those programs, please start the lawyer referral process by completing the Online Lawyer Request Form below.

STEP 3: Lawyer Search

Once the intake process — and financial screening (if appropriate) — is completed, our trained staff will begin searching for a qualified attorney with the knowledge and experience to assist you with your specific legal matter. Each lawyer on our panel has up-to-date malpractice insurance and a clean history of no discipline with the State Bar of California.

STEP 4: Lawyer Match

Typically a lawyer match is made within 3 to 5 business days for most 'regular' referrals. However, because of the very high demand for pro bono, modest means, and CIAP referrals, the wait for these matches can take longer, and regrettably, in some instances, no match can be found for some cases. The referral administrative fee is not charged for regular, pro bono, modest means, or CIAP* referrals until a match is made.

* CIAP referral administrative fees are higher than standard administrative fees.


CLA is a State Bar of California Certified Lawyer Referral Service

CERTIFICATION MEANS that a lawyer referral service meets certain standards approved by the California Supreme Court. Certification also means that if you use a certified service, you can be assured of the following:

ATTORNEYS ARE INSURED. All lawyers who participate in certified lawyer referral services must carry malpractice insurance to protect their clients. This means that if your lawyer does something wrong, and you successfully sue for malpractice, you can be sure the lawyer has the ability to pay.

THE LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE WILL SCREEN YOUR CALL. Every certified lawyer referral service has trained staff to help you determine whether you have a legal problem and, if so, what kind of lawyer you need — or if you need some other type of assistance.

THE LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE CAN REFER YOU TO A LAWYER IN YOUR AREA OF LEGAL NEED. Certified lawyer referral services have lawyers with experience in many legal areas. Certified lawyer referral services screen their lawyers so they can refer you to a lawyer who practices in the particular area of law you need. Many lawyer referral services have subject matter panels, on which attorneys can serve only if they have demonstrated experience or meet certain other requirements.

THE LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE CAN give you information about other service programs. Some problems may at first seem to require a lawyer’s help, but actually may not. For example, you may have a problem that can be handled for free in small claims court or by a mediation program. Certified lawyer referral services can direct you to government agencies or other organizations that may be better suited to assist you. In fact, thousands of Californians call lawyer referral services each year and fewer than 40 percent are actually referred to lawyers.

THE LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE MAY BE ABLE TO PROVIDE AN ATTORNEY AT A REDUCED RATE. Certification rules require lawyer referral services to make arrangements to serve people of limited means. Some lawyer referral services do this by operating low-fee or no-fee panels, while others cooperate with independent, local pro bono programs that are free. If you are financially eligible, the lawyer referral service may be able to refer you to one of its own attorneys who charges a reduced rate, or to another provider who can provide you with free assistance.

THE LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE MAY BE ABLE TO PROVIDE BILINGUAL LAWYERS. Many certified lawyer referral services have lawyers who speak Spanish and other languages to help you.

SOURCE: "A Lawyer Referral Service Can Help You" | State Bar of California



California Lawyers for the Arts is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your donation is tax deductible as a charitable contribution to the fullest extent of the law.  State Bar LRS Certificate #0021.

MCLE Provider # 1248.

The information provided on this website is not legal advice. You should consult with an attorney for individual advice regarding your legal matters.

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