ArtServe Michigan seeks attorneys for new program supporting creative industries

from ArtServe Michigan

ArtServe Michigan, the leading statewide arts and cultural advocacy organization in Michigan, has announced its new Lawyers for the Creative Economy (LCE) initiative. LCE is recruiting attorneys from Southeast Michigan, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor for its launch.

The program was created to ensure that resources for understanding such legal areas as copyright, trademark, patent, and licensing are available to all levels of the creative industry.
 Attorneys who willing to provide free or low-fee intellectual property advice and related support are paired with professionals and organizations seeking affordable legal services. These include practicing artists; creative practitioners and independent entrepreneurs; start up businesses; and/or non-profits in arts and culture, design, architecture, film/video, software, games and electronic publishing.

 “Not only is Clark Hill’s involvement with LCE good for the community by increasing access to quality legal service for creative professionals, but it also enriches our practice because of the meaningful exchanges between attorneys and artists the program facilitates,” said LCE Advisory Council member Joseph L. Voss, attorney at Clark Hill Grand Rapids. “It’s a perfect match for our Entertainment Industry Team, but attorneys across the firm will find opportunities to engage with the arts through LCE, and we are a proud supporter of its efforts throughout Michigan.”

An information session will be held at the office of Miller Canfield at 150 W. Jefferson in Detroit on Dec. 5. Attendees will receive detailed information about participation and how to join, as well as the opportunity to meet other attorneys already committed.

 “Attorney participation is critical to the success of this initiative and building Michigan’s reputation as an innovative place to live, learn and work,” said Jennifer Goulet, president and CEO for ArtServe.

 Recent statistics support the importance of successful creatives to the state. ArtServe’s 2012 Creative State Michigan report showed that 211 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations contributed nearly half a billion dollars in expenditures alone to Michigan’s economy in 2009. Of those, $152 million went to salaries for more than 15,000 jobs, and from 2006 to 2010, the number of arts-related jobs increased 4% in Michigan, while arts-related businesses increased by 43%.

 “Though participating attorneys would start out with pro bono or low-fee services for creative clients, as these artists and organizations grow, attorneys have the very real opportunity to benefit from the relationship they’ve established early in the creative process to help them gain momentum,” said Goulet.

LCE also will provide professional development seminars across the state for artists and other creative practitioners to help them develop essential knowledge about the law. Attorneys participating in LCE may have the opportunity to help lead those seminars.

Participating attorneys are asked to designate a number of legal service hours, number of clients or number of matters they are willing to commit to on a bi-annual basis. They must be licensed to practice in Michigan and covered by malpractice insurance. Attorneys retain the right to refuse or decline any legal matter referred, but if the matter is accepted, the attorney is responsible for apprising the client of any and all charges or fees and tracking billable hours devoted to the client. ArtServe Michigan facilitates intake of all clients seeking legal assistance and assigning them to volunteer attorneys.

Attorneys interested in the LCE should contact Marcia Goffney, LCE Project Consultant, or 248-912-0760, ext. 5 or Cezanne Charles, Director of Creative Industries, or 248-912-0760, ext. 7.
LCE was developed by ArtServe Michigan with support from the State Bar’s Arts, Communications, Entertainment and Sports (ACES) section and others.

ArtServe Michigan is a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to cultivating the creative potential of Michigan’s arts and cultural sector and creative industries to enhance the public health and well-being of Michigan, its people and communities. ArtServe advocates for arts,  culture, arts education and the power of the creative economy in Michigan; provides leadership and professional development for artists, creative practitioners, and arts and cultural organizations; and connects arts and cultural leaders and supporters through strategic communications. Contact ArtServe Michigan at 248-912-0760 or visit