Minnesota Lawyers for the Arts is pleased to connect eligible artists in need of legal assistance to one of our partner law firms for pro bono legal representation. Please read the information below carefully before submitting your application. Once you've read this page, complete the intake form here and one of our staff will follow up with you. If you need assistance with scanning documents or completing your application, contact us.
Who is eligible for pro bono representation?
Individual artists and creatives residing in Minnesota are eligible. Pro bono representation is allotted on an income basis for individual artists. Unlike Springboard's other services, you will need to verify your income. Eligibility is determined by looking at household size and gross income. Different law firms have different income requirements, though the majority require you to have a gross household income of 300% of the federal poverty guidelines or below. You may be required to present additional information about your income with the law firm.
If you don't meet the income requirements, we suggest you request a phone consultation and hire an attorney based on those referrals.
What sort of cases are eligible for pro bono representation?
Requests are for arts and business-related issues that require full legal representation. These may include signing or creating contracts, entity formation, taxes, intellectual property, trademarks, licensing, copyright and trademark infringement, artist visas or immigration, music royalties, leasing and buying property or estate planning.
Is my nonprofit eligible for pro bono representation?
Minnesota-based arts nonprofits are eligible in many cases. You will be asked to provide your 990s and mission statement below. Some of our partner firms have eligibility requirements based on your operating budget; in those cases, we'll help find the best match. In most cases, firms prioritize nonprofits whose mission is related to working with underserved communities and/or providing direct access to services or arts experiences, and you'll need to demonstrate that in your mission statement.
Fiscally sponsored projects enrolled in Springboard's Incubator program are generally not eligible. However, individual artists involved with an Incubator project would be eligible, provided they meet the income requirements.
What happens after I submit my request?
Once your income and eligibility has been verified by Springboard, your request will be sent to a pro bono coordinator at one of our partner law firms. They will conduct a conflict check to verify that the law firm is not already representing anyone involved in the matter. When the conflict check is cleared, you will be put in touch with attorneys from the firm via email, and you'll begin working together.
Though we try to refer every case, we cannot guarantee that we will find a lawyer to work with you.
How long will it take?
Please keep in mind that finding pro bono representation can be a long process, so you'll need to have a flexible timeline. Your request may take from 2-4 weeks to clear the firm's intake process, and potentially longer in some cases. If you have a legal emergency that requires immediate action, in most cases we suggest you either speak with a volunteer attorney using our phone consultation service, or contact an emergency legal service.