Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
CLINICS AND LEGAL SERVICES
Q. Who can book an appointment at the clinic?
The Clinic is open to low income artists in all disciplines with legal questions related to art, entertainment, business, and copyright issues.
Q. What questions can I ask at the clinic?
All issues discussed must be related to your artistic discipline. Questions about the following matters are common:
Q. What questions can’t the clinic answer?
We cannot answer questions about a family law issue, tax problem, criminal law or another question unrelated to the pursuit of your artistic practice. But the following agency can and will answer such questions: Access ProBono.
If you aren’t sure whether you qualify for advice, simply complete and submit an intake form. The intake volunteer will review it and let you know whether it can be addressed at a clinic or not.
Q. My question can’t be answered at a clinic. What do I do?
We will provide a referral to anyone who has questions in areas of law not handled at the clinic, or questions that are too complicated to be handled in a 30-minute, summary advice session. Alternatively, you can contact the following agency: Access ProBono.
Q. What information will I get at a clinic?
The lawyer will answer your questions based on the facts you describe and his or her knowledge in that particular area of law. The answer given will be summary legal advice.
Q. What is summary legal advice?
Summary legal advice is a legal answer that is general in nature and qualified. The lawyer cannot provide more specific advice because he or she has not done any lengthy background research on your particular situation.
Q. How do I book an appointment?
Complete an intake form with as many details about your legal issue as possible and send it to the ALO. You must be a low income artist and qualify for services. Your eligibility will be evaluated by the legal supervisor based on a means test. The intake form is online, or you can print out a copy and send it to us by email, fax, mail or in-person at our office within the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture. Our contact information is on the Contact page.
Q. What is the means test?
Clients are eligible for the ALO services based on a means test, which is 165% of the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs), as established by Statistics Canada. Clients whose income falls below 165% of the appropriate LICO receive free legal services. This is consistent with the requirements of the Lawyer’s Insurance Fund and Access Pro Bono, the registered charity of which the ALO legal clinic is a part.
Q. I’ve sent in my intake form. Now what do I do?
You will be contacted when a lawyer has reviewed your intake form and scheduled the next clinic. Since the ALO is run entirely by volunteers, it may take 5-7 days before you hear from us.
Q. What should I bring to my appointment? Do I need to prepare for it?
Please bring any documents that relate to your legal question and writing materials if you want to take notes. If you want to do some preparation work before your appointment, you can check out our Legal Resource Library.
Q. When is the clinic held? When is my appointment?
The clinic is held on Tuesday nights, between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM, by appointment only. A volunteer will contact you with your specific appointment date and time after your intake form has been reviewed. Appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Best efforts are made to match artists in particular disciplines with lawyers who have expertise in that area.
Q. How long is my appointment?
Each appointment is 30 minutes long.
Q. Where is my appointment?
Each appointment is held at the meeting room at 100-938 Howe Street, on Howe Street between Smithe Street and Nelson Street, located within the offices of the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture. Please see the contact page for a map.
Q. Who will be at my appointment?
Each appointment is private and confidential between you and a lawyer. One of the ALO volunteer law student coordinators might observe the session. All volunteers are bound by the same duties of privacy and confidentiality.
Q. How much does an appointment cost?
Appointments are booked on a pay-what-you-can basis. Contributions are encouraged and greatly appreciated.
Q. How is my contribution used?
Contributions are used to offset administrative costs and to develop workshops on legal issues in the arts.
Q. I attended an ALO clinic and now I have more questions. What do I do?
To book a follow-up session on the same, new or related legal issue, complete a new intake form, and submit it to the ALO. If you would like to follow-up with the same lawyer, please indicate this on your intake form. Best efforts will be made to accommodate your request. Please be aware that it may take more time to schedule the same lawyer for you and we might be unable to do so.
Q. Why do you need the names of all the people involved in my legal issue?
The names of any people, organizations or businesses related to your legal issue are given to the lawyer scheduled to meet with you. Before your appointment takes place, the lawyer runs those names through a conflicts check.
Q. What is a conflicts check?
When a lawyer starts practicing law, he or she promises to give undivided loyalty to every client. This ensures that the lawyer gives unbiased legal advice. In order to keep that promise, a lawyer must make sure he or she is not connected to any other person, organization or company involved in your legal matter. The lawyer reviews all past and current clients and files to make sure that he or she has not had any dealings with any of those parties.
LEGAL RESOURCES LIBRARY
Q. What resources do you have?
The Legal Resource Library contains information sheets, articles, sample legal documents, and sample contracts for the following artistic disciplines: dance, theatre, music, film, television and visual arts.
It also contains resources on specific legal topics, including copyright; how to incorporate and maintain a society; employment law; immigration matters; and wills and estate planning.
Q. How do I access the Resource library?
You can search an online catalogue of all the materials in the Resource Library. Click here. The physical materials are located at the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture, Suite 100-938 Howe Street (between Smithe and Nelson), in Vancouver. They are currently being reorganized but will soon be available during the BC Alliance’s office hours.
Q. Can I borrow material from the Resource Library?
Materials cannot be removed from the Resource Library. However, documents can be photocopied for a small fee.
Q. I have a legal question that is not appropriate or too complicated for your clinic. I probably have to retain a lawyer. What do I do?
If you are advised that your legal problem is too complicated for a summary advice clinic, or that you need to retain a lawyer, the ALO can refer you to a listing of lawyers who have expertise working with artists and your legal issue. This referral list is distributed at the discretion of the ALO.
Q. I want to help ALO. What can I do?
You can make a contribution by clicking here. Any amount helps, no matter how small. If you are a law student or a practicing lawyer, you can also contribute your time. Please visit the volunteer page for more information.