About the National Network
It takes a village to build a network.
In 2009, at a meeting of the 5 legal clinics dedicated to artists in the country, I said we needed a national network that would support all of us, working together. The five were: the Artists Legal Advice Services (Toronto), the Clinique Juridique du Montreal, Artists Legal Service Ottawa, Artists Legal Information Service (Halifax) and the Artists Legal Outreach (Vancouver).
Marian Hebb and Paul Sanderson, Daniel Pink, Keith Serry and Tanya Woods had each as law students and young lawyers created the space that led to thousands of artists accessing legal information and advice.
Fast forward 10 years, and thousands of hours later, to a conversation I had in a Vancouver townhall with Simon Brault and Carolyn Warren, Director and Deputy Director of the Canada Council for the Arts, floating the idea of a National Network of Legal Clinics for the Arts.
By October 2019, we received the first Canada Council grant to fulfill that grand vision. In November, 2019, lawyers from coast to coast to coast met to envision what the future might hold for a network of legal clinics for the arts.
In 2020, in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic we produced the first National Legal Needs Assessment: Now More than Ever.
In 2021 we held a National Forum in which more than 600 people participated in 3 days. By late 2022, the Atlantic Provinces had come together to form the Artists Legal Help Atlantic website link L. Kerry Vickar Business Law clinic at the University of Manitoba had opened it’s doors to artists. ALAS and the ALO had both tripled in size.
Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage for taking a chance on a big vision for the future.
Thanks also to: Marian and Paul for the inspiration. Daniel Pink and Byron Pascoe for 3 years of dedicated work. Key to the whole enterprise were the many staff at PLEO who joined us on this mission. Sean Cranbury who was there when it mattered most (and had a big hand in the grants!), Angela Vanatter (and Laura Murray) without whom we would not have gotten the plane off the ground. Steve McKeon KC, Nora de Mariaffi and Francella Fiallos, Max Reimer, Charles Smith and CPAMO, Hilary Henegar, and our many advisors over the years.
Tara, Andrew, Elizabeth,Elodie, Theo, Chris and Nela for the heavy lifting in the final stretch. Lucia, Kris, Beckett, Carol, Minnie, Sharon and Jason for demonstrating true teamwork.
Elliott Hearte for their inspiring leadership who will continue the work at the ALO’s new home Arts BC.
– Martha Rans, KC, Architect of the National Network of Legal Clinics for the Arts:
Get Legal Help
If I am an artist, where can I ask for help?
Check the clinic map to find out which clinic to contact. We recommend contacting the clinic located in your province to see what services and resources they are able to provide you.
If there is no clinic in your province we would recommend contacting us.
Is legal help free?
All of our clinics have some model that offers pro-bono and or low-cost legal supports. As each clinic differs region-by-region, and has different criteria to receive legal support, please contact the clinic directly via the clinic map.
If I am a lawyer, how can I get involved with the National Network?
Get in touch with the clinic closest to you via our clinic map to see what volunteer opportunities are currently available.