Ex. Arts and Entertainment Law - Fieldwork

Course Information

Course Number
Curriculum Level
Areas of Study
Clinics, Externships, and Experiential Learning, Intellectual Property and Technology
Additional Attributes
Experiential Credit

Section 002 Information


Section Description

This course provides students with practical experience in intellectual property, entertainment and nonprofit law as they assist staff attorneys at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) in their representation of artists and nonprofit arts organizations. Through class discussions and journals, students reflect on the wide variety of clients and issues they encounter in their fieldwork, and engage in critical thinking about the role that law and lawyers play in the arts and entertainment world.

Students attend weekly two hour seminars designed to reinforce and expand on their work at VLA through discussion of cases, agreements, reflections from student journals and analyses of the concepts from various readings. We cover topics such as copyright, trademark, not-for-profit law, music rights and intellectual property licensing, as well as practical skills students need to work effectively at VLA, such as client interviewing, client counseling, and contract negotiation. There are assigned readings and journals or short papers due each week.

Students also spend approximately 11-12 hours each week working at VLA, for a total of 144 hours for the semester. The work is split over two days, in two shifts that must fall between VLA's working hours of 10-6 pm. VLA's clients are low-income artists and nonprofit arts organizations. Their legal concerns fall primarily into the areas of copyright, not-for-profit incorporation and tax exemption, trademarks, the music industry, and other arts and entertainment-related areas. Clients typically seek assistance reviewing, negotiating and/or drafting contracts; resolving disputes; protecting copyrights and/or trademarks; and becoming a nonprofit tax-exempt organization. Students will prepare for and participate in client intake, clinics and consultations. They will spend at least half their time on substantive research projects assigned by VLA staff attorneys on issues arising from client representation, VLA educational programs and advocacy.

Students participate in two role-playing exercises: a client counseling session and a negotiation.

Students receive four credits: two academic credits for the seminar and two clinical credits for the fieldwork. The seminar will be graded with letter grades. The fieldwork will be graded Credit/No Credit. Grades will be based on class participation, written work and performance in the simulated exercises. Performance in the fieldwork portion of the course can influence the grade for the seminar by half a grade in either direction (e.g. poor performance at VLA will lower an A- to a B+).

School Year & Semester
Fall 2021
J.D Writing Credit?

Course Limitations

Instructor Pre-requisites
Instructor Co-Requisites
Recommended Courses
Other Limitations