Our Mission

  • Facilitate access to legal services for Northeast Ohio artists and arts organizations, including pro bono legal representation and referrals to income-eligible artists and arts organizations in all disciplines
  • Develop educational resources for and build a living network of the region’s lawyers, artists, and arts organizations
  • Advocate for a strong and vibrant arts community

How we serve the community

  • For artists: If you are an artist or arts organization in the Greater Cleveland area seeking free legal assistance, please contact the VLA to submit an application.
  • For the public: The VLA is committed to partnering with local arts and nonprofit organizations to present free, public law-related education programs. Past presentations have focused on topics such as leasing, gallery agreements, sales, and intellectual property protection. If you have an idea for an educational program, please let us know!
  • For attorneys: We are currently seeking attorneys to join the VLA Committee to help us carry out our mission. If you are interested in joining the VLA, please submit your committee request form.



Join the VLA for VLA Bootcamp on Oct. 24 (4:30-6:00 p.m. at the Old Church at the Cleveland Public Theatre)! A panel of VLA attorneys will discuss legal topics that are often encountered when representing artists and arts organizations, including:

  • Work-for-Hire Arrangements – Understanding and Protecting an Artist’s Rights
  • Business Entity Selection and Formation Issues
  • Forming and Operating Tax-Exempt Arts Organizations
  • Intellectual Property Law and the Arts Update

Artists are welcome at this free seminar designed to offer advice on a range of relevant legal issues. Attorneys who represent artists are also welcome and encouraged to attend, with 1.5-hr. FREE CLE credit available, in return for a future volunteer commitment to the VLA. 

ATTORNEYS: register here. Artists should RSVP by Oct. 23 to jpaine@clemetrobar.org.

Steven W. Day, Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP
George H. Carr, Sikora Law
Christopher J. Klasa, McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., LPA
Michael S. Russell, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
4:00 p.m. Registration & Refreshments
4:30 p.m. VLA Bootcamp – Legal Matters Commonly Handled by the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (1.5-hr. CLE)
6:00 p.m. Adjourn


"VLA Do Free" - Sculpture with neon and recycled materials by Cleveland-area artist Jeffry Chiplis, winner of the 2013 VLA Commission Design contest.

Student photographer Jasmine with her artwork, at the Shooting Without Bullets exhibit opening reception at the CMBA.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is a program of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, with funding support provided by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation.

The CMBF is a 501(c)(3) organization; gifts to it are tax deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

Helpful Links and Resources

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