Today, over 1,000 lawyers volunteer their time for Georgia Lawyers for the Arts (GLA). In 2017 alone, the organization provided more than $2,000,000 in pro bono legal service to artist and art organizations.
These are the musicians, songwriters, photographers, sculptors, dancers, filmmakers, painters, actors, and other artists who would not otherwise be able to afford legal representation and education about their rights. Among them could be the next Picasso, Mozart, Michelangelo or DaVinci who might not be able to continue their work if not for this help.
To Meredith Ragains, providing access to justice for under-resourced citizens was always the most rewarding part of her 13 years working as an attorney. So, it was a natural decision that she devote herself to pro bono work, becoming the executive director of Georgia Lawyers for the Arts in 2013.
Fueled by her passion and the vision of the leaders before her, the GLA has aided thousands of Georgia artists and arts organizations since inception. Whether helping to secure copyright protection, offering legal assistance in misappropriation cases, negotiating with galleries on artists’ behalf or providing educational seminars and resources, the mission of GLA is to further creativity by protecting and advising Georgia’s artists and inventors.
One perfect example – when a singer/songwriter was being pressured to accept an amount for unpaid royalties that was woefully below the fee he was entitled to, GLA attorneys negotiated eight times the payment he had been offered. As a result, the family was able to send their child to college.
And it’s not just the artists who benefit from GLA. In 2014, under Meredith’s watch, GLA started Georgia PATENTS in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In just three years, the organization, which provides pro bono attorneys who help inventors file patent applications, has assisted hundreds of inventors and was recently announced as the top program in the United States by the USPTO.
Protecting the cultural life of Georgia and those who enhance it is important to the vitality of our communities. Meredith and Georgia Lawyers for the Arts appreciate those who can spread the word about the organization and the work they do. They are always seeking attorneys to take a case, and of course, financial donations are appreciated. Learn more about GLA, as well as information about membership and donation on their website at www.glarts.org.
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