NM Lawyers for the Arts Attorney Member Referral Q and A:
How do I become a volunteer attorney or referral attorney for NMLA?
To Volunteer: Just fill out the Attorney Information form and send it to us via email or regular mail. We will then enter you into our volunteer attorney database.
To become a referral attorney, fill out the information form and send a check to NMLA for $35 dollars.
How do I learn about pro bono cases?
We will contact you to determine whether you are interested in volunteering at one of our pro bono legal clinics occurring throughout the year. For our clinics, NMLA makes its best efforts to provide malpractice insurance for the duration of the clinic, through one of our partner organizations
In addition, should you wish to assist with a pro bono case outside of the clinic setting, when we have a case that is a good fit with your practice area, we will call to see if you have time to assist that particular individual or organization. You will only receive calls for the areas indicated on the Attorney Information Form. We will also provide you with a limited retainer agreement, should you require it. For pro bono cases, we require attorneys to have their own malpractice insurance..
What do I do next?
If you agree to take a pro bono case, we will contact the client, conduct an intake and give them your name and number. The client will then contact you directly. NMLA staffers will send you a short pro bono report to complete and return to us at the completion of the matter. If there are out of pocket expenses involved in your engagement, such as filing fees, court costs, etc., those are the responsibility of the client.
What is the extent of my engagement with the client?
At the Clinics, those assisted will be required to sign a limited representation agreement obligating you to assist them only for the duration of the clinic. Any additional assistance you provide will be upon agreement between you and the individual or group you assist.
What about clients that do not qualify for free legal services?
We frequently have clients who do not qualify for pro bono services, but who come to us because they know we can refer them to attorneys who are experienced in art and entertainment law, intellectual property or other relevant practice areas and can assist on a tiered-rate or full-rate basis. Should creatives require such referrals, we handle these cases in much the same way as pro bono cases. We will complete an intake, assess the needs of the client, and when appropriate, make calls to experienced member attorneys to see who may have the time to assist this client. If you are interested in assisting the client on a paying basis, we will provide the client with your name and number, and then the client will contact you directly. NMLA does not get involved in negotiating fee arrangements. Only member attorneys are eligible for paying referrals. If you are interested in joining NMLA and becoming a member attorney, please fill out the Attorney Referral Membership Form.
What about malpractice insurance?
Due to the cost, NMLA cannot provide malpractice insurance coverage for our volunteer attorneys outside of the clinics. However, your own insurance should cover your pro bono work. Check with your carrier to make sure of your coverage. NMLA requires its volunteer attorneys to be covered by legal malpractice insurance. Often, during clinics, these costs may be covered through the New Mexico State Bar or our other partners, so be sure to check with NMLA about the possibility of your participating in one of our clinics if you do not hold your own malpractice insurance.