There are two different types of volunteer work available with Arts Law:
- Volunteer lawyer, in particular on Arts Law’s Document Review Panel; or
- Student volunteer administration/research assistant
1. Volunteer lawyers
Arts Law aims to maintain panels of volunteer lawyers in all States, who provide legal advice to its subscribers either face to face or via telephone. We call this service the document review service (DRS).
Our subscribers are representative of the Australian arts community and include everyone from visual artists and documentary film makers to musicians, multi-media artists and authors. The legal advice they require is similarly wide ranging. Often an advice session will involve the review of a contract, but sometimes our subscribers need general advice on matters such as film finance, litigation options, employment issues, business structures and intellectual property.
When we need the services of a lawyer for a document review, we contact a lawyer on our panel with appropriate expertise to check availability and ensure there is no legal conflict in relation to the matter for which assistance is sought. If the volunteer lawyer is able to assist, we forward him/her any document relevant to the matter. The volunteer lawyer is advising on behalf of Arts Law, and the advice is covered by Arts Law’s professional indemnity insurance (PII). The only follow up we require in order to comply with our PII requirements is the provision of a file note of the legal advice provided to the client.
Upon request, for example in situations where we cannot advise a caller because the person is not eligible for Arts Law’s services, we refer callers to lawyers for advice. We inform the caller that if he/she acts upon Arts Law’s referral, any arrangement, in particular in relation to fees, is a matter between the lawyer and the caller, and has nothing to do with Arts Law.
Lawyers on our DRS panel have priority for referrals unless they request not to receive any Arts Law referral.
Pro bono assistance and mediation assistance
We are also interested in hearing from lawyers and law firms that can offer assistance through accepting referrals, including occasional pro bono referrals for very deserving casework, and from lawyers who are prepared to assist with Arts Law’s mediation service or help us by writing and reviewing publications or delivering seminars.
How to become a DRS volunteer lawyer?
We generally require that DRS volunteer lawyers have two or more years’ experience in the field in which they are advising. If you are interested in assisting us as a volunteer lawyer, please email Arts Law your resume and covering letter.
2. Student volunteers
Student volunteers play a valuable role supporting the solicitors in the provision of legal advice. They are the first point of contact for our clients and are tasked with providing information and taking accurate legal instructions. Volunteers may also conduct legal research for the solicitors, get involved with advocacy projects, sit in on legal advice sessions as note-takers, as well as assist with the general administration of a legal centre.
What’s the commitment?
Volunteers must commit to working at least one day per week at Arts Law’s Sydney office for a minimum period of 6 months. Eligibility for a PLT placement will only be considered on a case by case basis after completion of the minimum 6 month commitment.
Be in at least the third year of study towards a law degree (essential)
Have completed intellectual property or media law subjects (essential)
Have a strong interest and/or experience in the arts (desirable)
How to become a student volunteer?
If you are interested in volunteering at Arts Law, please fill out our volunteer application form. Arts Law accepts volunteer applications all year round. We will keep your application on file and contact you if a position becomes available.