Colorado Attorneys for the Arts (CAFTA) is a pro bono legal referral service connecting artists, performers, cultural organizations and creative business to volunteer attorneys. CAFTA also offers educational presentations, webinars, consultation clinics and resources.
Learn more here about the referral process and access educational materials.
Who does CAFTA serve?
CAFTA serves individual artists, cultural nonprofits and creative businesses across Colorado. Our definition of “arts” and “creative” is open and inclusive. Clients may include filmmakers, musical groups, visual artists, photographers, actors/directors, craft artisans, writers, designers, creative entrepreneurs and nonprofit cultural organizations. Clients must demonstrate financial need in order to be matched for pro bono (free) legal services. Please review the Pro Bono Client Legal Referral Agreement (updated for 2024), which outlines CAFTA’s requirements, expectations and process for eligible applicants.
If you don’t qualify for pro bono legal assistance based on your income, CAFTA may still be able to seek a referral on your behalf. It would be up to you and any potential attorney to negotiate that arrangement. Contact CAFTA@cbca.org for more information on that process.
Who are the volunteer attorneys?
CAFTA works to connect potential creative clients with volunteer attorneys in our database. CAFTA volunteer attorneys represent a wide range of practice areas and legal expertise. They hail from national firms with Colorado offices to general practitioners. Registering as a CAFTA volunteer attorney is not a commitment to take on a particular matter or client. It means you will be notified about pro bono opportunities and you can offer assistance based on your expertise, availability and interests. Please review the Description of Pro Bono Services before registering as a CAFTA Volunteer Attorney.
What types of cases does CAFTA accept?
CAFTA’s volunteer attorneys provide pro bono legal services on specific, arts-related matters. CAFTA addresses the following general legal areas:
- Corporate and general business
- Intellectual property (copyright, trademark and licensing)
- Contract drafting, review, and negotiation
- Dispute resolution (mediation and negation)
- Nonprofit formation and tax exemption
- Employment and labor
Legal referrals are only provided for matters related to your or your business’ work in the creative industries. For example, a CAFTA volunteer attorney can help with a landlord/tenant issue but only if it is related to a studio or business space (not a personal residence). Other examples of CAFTA cases include: performance contracts, photography licensing agreements, incorporating a new creative business, or negotiations between artist and gallery. CAFTA will only consider one legal matter per application at a time.
CAFTA does not provide referral for some legal matters, such as traffic, criminal, divorce/domestic/family, or personal injury. For disputes and adversarial situations, CAFTA volunteer attorneys can assist with negotiation and settlement but are not expected to assist with litigation or arbitration. CAFTA cannot guarantee a referral for pro bono legal referral.
If you are looking for assistance with a patent, please visit The Pro Bono Patent program (ProBoPat). ProBoPat, administered by Mi Casa, seeks to connect low-income inventors who are residents of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming with patent professionals for patent preparation and legal services on a pro bono or significantly reduced fee basis.
How much will this cost me?
If you are referred to a volunteer attorney and he/she agrees to take on your matter, the legal services will be provided pro bono or free of charge. We are very grateful to our volunteer attorneys and their generosity. The scope of your legal engagement will be negotiated and agreed on between you and the volunteer attorney directly. CAFTA is only a referral service.
You may be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses including filing fees, long-distance phone calls, charges for copying, messengers, etc. that may be required in relation to your matter. It is your responsibility to discuss potential expenses with your volunteer attorney.
CAFTA requires a non-refundable administration fee in order to seek a referral.
- Individual Artist: $50
- Nonprofit Organization: $75
- For Profit Organization: $100
There is no fee to submit an initial application. If your application is eligible for a legal referral through CAFTA, we will contact you regarding next steps. Once your application is officially approved, we will require that you submit the non-refundable administration fee and a signed Pro Bono Client Legal Referral Agreement.
CAFTA is not a law firm, does not provide any legal advice or services, and will not represent you as your attorney. CAFTA is an informational resource and referral service.
CAFTA Educational ResourcesVIEW ALL
Can I Post This?: Putting Creative Content Online
Speaker: Dave Ratner, Creative Law Network
Setting up a Business that Protects You
Speaker: Allie Moore, Creatives Learn Law
The Light at the End of the Pandemic Tunnel: Common Questions and Answers for Creative Arts Businesses
Written by Poorvi Parkhie, The Law Office of Poorvi B. Parkhie
General Legal Assistance
- Colorado Attorney General’s Consumer Resource Guide
- The American Bar Association’s Guide to Legal Services
- The Colorado Bar Association’s “For the Public” section and “Find a Lawyer” directory
- The Colorado Judicial Branch’s Self Help Center
- The Denver Bar Association’s Public Legal Information Guide and Legal Resources Directory (English PDF, Spanish PDF)
- Colorado’s Local Bar Associations
Other Pro Bono and Reduced-Fee Opportunities
- Colorado COVID Legal Relief – pro bono help for small businesses with COVID-related legal issues
- Colorado Nonprofit Pro Bono Legal Group
- Colorado Nonprofit Legal Center
- Colorado Lawyers Committee
- Colorado Legal Services and their hosted clinics
- Metro Volunteer Lawyers
- University of Denver Sturm College of Law: Community Economic Development Clinic
- Colorado Law: Entrepreneurial Law Clinic
Intellectual Property Resources
- U.S. Copyright Office
- U.S. Library of Congress
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Copyright Claims Board and CCB Handbook
- Creative Commons
- Copyright Society of the USA
- Copyright Alliance
- Visual Artists’ Rights Act
- World Intellectual Property Organization
- Denver Public Library Patent and Trademark Resource Center
- “Copyright and Fair Use” – Stanford University
- “Recording Artist Project” – Harvard University
Estate Planning Resources
- Creating a Lasting Legacy: Estate Planning Workbook for Visual Artists (Joan Mitchell Foundation and Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston/Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts)
- Creating a Lasting Legacy: Estate Planning for Visual Artists – A Workbook for Attorneys and Executors (Joan Mitchell Foundation and Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston/Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts)
- Creative a Lasting Legacy: Career Documentation for the Visual Artist: A Legacy Planning Workbook & Resource Guide (Joan Mitchell Foundation)
Disclaimer. Inclusion on the list as above is not an endorsement or support of any particular organization, individual, views expressed, or products or services offered. CAFTA does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of this information. This list is provided only as a courtesy. CAFTA is not in any manner responsible for the content in any of these web sites or sources of information.
Professional Associations & Resources for Artists
- Actors Fund
- AIGA Colorado
- Americans for the Arts
- American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)
- Authors Guild
- BizBoost: Denver Public Library’s Small Business Research Help
- Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)
- Colorado Business Development Foundation
- Colorado Business Resource Book
- Colorado Creative Industries
- Colorado Film & Video Association
- Colorado Innovation Network
- Colorado Music Business Organization (COMBO)
- Colorado Small Business Development Network
- Colorado Theater Guild
- Denver Arts & Venues’ Create Denver
- Denver Musicians Association
- Folk Alliance International
- SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Business
- Tad Crawford book series
- Tremaine Foundation – Support For Artist Careers
- Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF)
- Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists
Business Skills and Resources
- CBCA’s Advancing Creatives programming
- Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists workbook, Springboard for the Arts
- Artwork Archive blog and guides
- Get Your Sh*t Together
- Ninth Street Collective
- Community Resource Center and Nonprofit Start-Up Resources
- Colorado Nonprofit Development Center (CNDC) fiscal sponsorship
- Fractured Atlas fiscal sponsorship
- Colorado Nonprofit Association and their Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado publication
- Fractured Atlas Fiscal Sponsorship
- Boulder County Arts Alliance Fiscal Sponsorship
- American Bar Association Nonprofit Organizations Committee. (2012).Guidebook for directors of nonprofit corporations (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: American Bar Association. ISBN 978-1-60442-093-7.
- Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. (2006, June).Instructions for Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. (2015, February). Publication 557: Tax-exempt status for your organization.