Q. How can I get a 'free' lawyer?
A. CLA charges a modest Administrative Fee for all lawyer referrals, however, you may be matched with an attorney who agrees to provide services to you on a pro bono basis, or for a reduced hourly fee, depending on your income qualifications. Please note: 'pro bono' does not mean 'free,' it means an attorney agrees to waive their legal fees for financially eligible clients, but clients are still responsible for all costs related to their matter (e.g. filing fees, etc.). To find out if you qualify for a low cost, or pro bono lawyer referral, please contact CLA's Lawyer Referral Services staff at 888-775-8995 for more information, or use the online Financial Screening Application Form. Even if you do not qualify for a pro bono attorney, or reduced rate attorney, ask CLA's staff about how you may benefit from a FREE 1/2 hour consultation with an attorney on our panel.
Q. What are the income limits for pro bono services?
A. CLA considers a wide range of factors in determining whether clients qualify for pro bono or reduced fee services. Determination of qualifications begin with a review of the federal poverty guidelines as applicable to the client, and the review requires that clients submit a copy of their most recent IRS 1040 income tax return along with CLA's Financial Screening Application Form.
Q. What if I did not file an income tax return last year? Can I still qualify for pro bono services?
A. While CLA makes every attempt to provide reduced fee services for those who are unable to pay for an attorney, we are unable to qualify clients for services without adequate financial documentation. If you have questions about whether alternative documentation will suffice, please contact CLA's LRIS staff at 888-775-8995.
Q. If I require services beyond an initial 1/2 hour legal consultation, how much can I expect an attorney to charge?
A. Attorney fees vary significantly, and can be anywhere from $150 per hour to $600 per hour (or more), and rates usually depend on the number of years in practice, and expertise of the attorney. Many attorneys will also require a "retainer" or "deposit against fees" (an estimated cost of anticipated services) at the outset of representation. While CLA cannot match you with an attorney based on the attorneys rates (unless you qualify you for a pro bono or modest means referral) we encourage clients to discuss fees with their attorneys directly to get a full understanding of the cost of services.
Q. Can CLA find an attorney to submit my music, book, or screenplay, etc. to a production company on my behalf?
A. While CLA can likely find an attorney to assist you in drafting a contract, such as a non-disclosure agreement or licensing arrangement, we are unable to place clients with attorneys for the sole purpose of submitting works to a publisher, or producer, etc. In general, this work is done by an artist's agent who is familiar with their work and who has personal relationships with studios or production companies. However, a referral to an attorney for a specific legal issue (such as contract drafting or review) is a great way to initiate a relationship with an attorney who may be able to represent you in an ongoing capacity. If you don't currently have a specific legal issue, you may also consider attending one of CLA's workshops or seminars to learn more about taking your work to the next level, and to network with industry professionals. More information about upcoming workshops can be found on the Workshops & Events tab of this website.
Q. How long does it take for an attorney to review a contract?
A. The time it takes to review a contract varies between attorneys, but a contract review will definitely exceed the free 30-minute consultation time of a standard lawyer referral. The attorney will need to review the contract and then go over the contract review with the client. Also, there may be parts of the contract that require some research by the attorney case law or legislative to clarify certain issues. Also, asking an attorney to read just some part of a contract and comment to save time and money (e.g. just read one paragraph) is unrealistic. The attorney needs to read the paragraph within the context of the entire agreement to ensure the advice is correct.
Q. How does the lawyer referral process work?
A. The illustration below summarizes the lawyer referral process: