How to find low-cost legal help to review a contract I received?
November 19, 2019 12:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm a writer and the company that I worked for remotely (HQ was in NYC, I am in MI) for 15 years was sold in 2018. I was let go, and since then have been semi-paying the bills via freelance work. I pitched an idea to a company (originally an idea for a documentary film), and after several revisions, I was sent a contract. But I need help in translating all the legal-speak, and I don't have tons of money to spend on an attorney at this point.

One of the freelancers (I'll call him C) I'd met at a conference went on to work for a documentary film company (a small upstart, from what I could tell). He sent a request via Twitter for story ideas, and I submitted a pitch. C liked the idea and asked for more info, sources, etc. Months passed, and the company C worked for was purchased by another company (the purchasing company stills appears to be something not too many steps above an upstart) but he still expressed interest in my story idea. After a few revisions he and his boss were both excited about my story idea and I was emailed a contract.

I know I don't really have any sort of a bargaining position - I'm a newbie, so is the company (apparently) - but before I sign the contract I'd feel more comfortable if a legal professional reviewed it. I don't have a lot of ready cash at the moment, and I realize that "you get what you pay for", but it still seems to me that someone with more legal knowledge than I should review the contract before I sign it.
posted by Oriole Adams to Law & Government (3 answers total)
 
New York's Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts maintains a directory of similar clinics around the country.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:07 PM on November 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


Check out your nearest law school- the University of Michigan has this clinic to support small businesses, for example. Freelancers' Union might also be able to point you in the right direction.
posted by pinochiette at 2:41 PM on November 19, 2019


Oregon also has a Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts group, acronymed as OVLA.

I am not a lawyer, but I work for a state bar where lawyers are licensed. We have a referral program where you can speak to a lawyer for 30 minutes for $35. You could check to see if your state has a similar program.
posted by tacodave at 5:55 PM on November 19, 2019


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