Looking for some legal advice but can’t quite make the fee?
Two resources in Santa Monica offer legal assistance for little or no money.
ON LOCAL TV — Attorneys Ralph Saltsman and Stephen Solomon — legal partners for more than 27 years — have brought their one-hour KRLA radio show, Legal Help Live, to Santa Monica’s cable channel 16.
Every Wednesday at noon viewers can call in and receive free legal advice on any issue.
Stephen Jamieson — law partner with Saltsman and Solomon — often joins them.
Saltsman says they have a lot of fun doing the show and are open to any type of legal question and place no time limit on the questions asked.
Once the caller presents a question, the Legal Help Live team verifies details with the caller. From there, Saltsman and Solomon may discuss possible scenarios relating to the case and then offer recommendations.
“We take as few as two calls to as many as six,” Saltsman says.
He also says they get calls on a wide variety of topics such as “Can I sell my hunting rifle to a friend?” or “Someone is signing my name on appraisal forms.”
Saltsman says they also receive calls from listeners with high stakes at risk, which always surprises him.
“Sometimes millions of dollars are at stake,” he adds.
Saltsman believes that the person who calls about such high stakes wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone at all.
“We’ve been on the radio consistently now for four years and I think callers feel comfortable talking to us,” he says.
He adds that it’s important to get legal advice on issues, otherwise it’s always possible people could lose their rights.
Saltsman says he and his partners don’t always agree on the answers and have given completely opposite views, but “What else do lawyers like to do but argue?” he adds.
If the Legal Help Live crew can’t answer a question, they aren’t shy about saying they don’t know. “We tell the caller to listen next week and we’ll research the question and get an answer,” Saltsman says.
LAWYERS FOR THE ARTS — Another phone call away is California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA), a nonprofit legal agency that focuses on arts and entertainment.
CLA holds informal workshops led by expert attorneys and other knowledgeable professionals to answer basic questions on subjects significant to entertainment and the arts, according to Christine Robinson, California Lawyers for the Arts referral and education manager.
California Lawyers for the Arts workshops are held at the Ken Edwards Center in Santa Monica from 7 to 8:30 p.m. every other Wednesday night.
The workshops are discounted to $10 for Santa Monica residents and CLA members and are $20 for others.
Some upcoming Wednesday topics include film financing on October 13th, contracts for artists and entertainers on October 27th, and a workshop on landlord and tenant issues for artists and entertainers on December 1st.
California Lawyers for the Arts also provides a lawyer referral service that matches a client with an attorney for $30. CLA determines the client’s need and then finds an attorney from the CLA panel who is an expert in the specific area of law required.
The client then gets half an hour with the attorney, according to Robinson.
Although the phones ring constantly, CLA has been hit with cutbacks lately, according to Robinson.
Looking for growth opportunities, the organization holds seminars addressing relevant legal issues affecting artists and entertainers.
Scheduled for Saturday, November 6th, are a seminar focusing on film, with panels discussing such topics as pitching and protecting ideas, and a second seminar aimed at educating musicians and entertainment attorneys.
Robinson suggests that the $65 for each daylong seminar is very low, considering the level of the experts and the information presented.
Robinson says California Lawyers for the Arts helps all people in the arts, such as singers, sculptors, writers, photographers and painters.
“Any legal issue an artist needs help with we can meet,” Robinson says.
“Up-and-coming artists don’t always think of the legal implications of their actions. We can help make sure everything is legally taken care of right,” she adds.
California Lawyers for the Arts, (310) 998-5590.
Legal Help Live, (310) 458-4950 or www.ssjlaw.com
Julie Kirst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org