becoming a volunteer


What is TALA?

Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides pro bono legal and accounting services to individual artists and nonprofit organizations statewide. TALA has been serving Texas artists since 1979. TALA handles some cases in-house, but the majority of cases are handled by TALA Volunteer Attorneys and Accountants from across the state.

Who does TALA serve?

TALA assists individual artists who are members of TALA and whose annual household income is $50,000 or less. Our clients come from many artistic disciplines including the visual arts, writing, acting, dancing, singing, musical performance, and performance art. Nonprofit clients include museums, theater companies, arts groups, dance troupes, libraries and writers’ guilds. Nonprofits must have annual revenues less than $200,000 and total assets less than $500,000 to qualify.

How does TALA membership work?

In order to receive TALA services, artists and nonprofits must become members. Individual memberships for artists are $50, bands are $100, and nonprofit organizations are $200. The membership fee helps defray administrative costs. With a one year membership, members receive unlimited (within the available scope of the services we provide) pro bono legal and accounting services, a subscription to the TALA newsletter and Art Law and Accounting Reporter, and invitations to TALA events.

Who can become a volunteer?

To handle TALA cases, volunteer attorneys must be licensed in the state of Texas and be in good standing with the Bar. An accounting volunteer must be a licensed CPA. Anyone can volunteer for special events and assist in the TALA office. Due to legal relationships between TALA and its clients, TALA does not use legal or accounting volunteers for administrative tasks within the office.

What types of legal cases does TALA handle?

All legal cases TALA handles must be art related. For artists, that includes copyright, gallery agreements, contracts, trademark, civil rights, entertainment issues, general business advice, bankruptcy, wills, forming a corporation, insurance, and landlord/tenant studio disputes. For nonprofits TALA handles cases dealing with resolving board disputes, board liability, dissolving nonprofit organizations, employment, creating nonprofit organizations, and tax issues. TALA can also handle some mediation cases for artists and nonprofits.

What types of accounting cases does TALA handle?

Accounting volunteers provide TALA clients with a wide variety of services. For the arts organizations, setting up their bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting related questions are the most common cases. For individual artists, accountants can assist with bookkeeping and setting up record keeping systems.

What is the volunteer process?

Every 2 to 3 weeks, an email is sent to all TALA volunteers listing the available cases. Once you run a conflicts check, volunteers should email TALA informing us of which cases you are interested in taking. A letter is then sent to both the client and the volunteer that confirms the case has been taken and also informs both parties of how to contact each other. It is the client’s responsibility to make initial contact with the volunteer, but the volunteer may make the initial contact if they choose to do so.

What is the time commitment?

The time commitment varies for each case, but generally, TALA cases are fairly brief in nature. TALA does not provide ongoing representation with the same attorney or accoutant, so once you complete the matter, you are released. Although preparation of Form 990 is not time intensive, it can lend itself to an annual assignment.

Cases not handled by TALA:

    • Family Law
    • Criminal Law
    • Personal Injury
    • Litigation*
    • Audits
* TALA does consult on small claims issues

How is the case closed?

When representation is complete, please fill out a Volunteer Evaluation Form and return it to TALA. This allows TALA to keep accurate records and lets us know what we can do to better serve you as a volunteer.

If you are interested in becoming a TALA volunteer: