Creative individuals and artists come in all forms and each with their own individualized legal needs. However, when it comes to developing the work and building a business out of a passion, many artists face the same legal issues as small business owners and entrepreneurs:
- Contract drafting, review, and negotiation;
- General business management matters;
- Copyright and trademark registration;
- Licensing, rights clearance and fair use;
- Entity formation and tax liability status;
- Rights of privacy and publicity;
- Inter-group conflict resolution;
The practice will concentrate its efforts on handling the business and legal needs of artists so that they may focus on more creative endeavors.
The practice aims to serve working artists and other creatively-minded individuals or groups who do not have the time or resources to address their legal and business needs. After conducting a survey on the barriers to artists seeking legal services, the results showed that artists who do not personally know lawyers do not know how to find a lawyer, and that artists who do know lawyers do not trust lawyers. For these reasons, potential clients from the target market are not likely to have previously worked with counsel and will be looking to establish relationships with counsel who can provide practical advice and connect them with other professional resources. To eliminate the aforementioned barriers and reach the target market, the practice must be accessible and easy for potential clients to locate, and the practice must establish itself as trustworthy within the community and among the community members.
- Market Size: According to US Census data, the total number of individuals engaged in cultural and artistic industries in Chicago exceeds 40,000.
- Demand: According to personal surveys in artistic industries including comedy, music, theater, radio, dance, etc., demand is high. As mentioned above, many artists have legal needs that are not being met due to their lack of access to the industry. In addition, many artists rely solely on pro bono resources including services provided by Lawyers For the Creative Arts, evidencing an existing and untapped market for affordable services in private practice.
- Growth potential: Chicago is a hub for artists, and given my already established relationships with a potential pool of clients, the possibility for growth through a combination of active marketing efforts and word-of-mouth referrals is exponential.
Strategy and Implementation Summary.
Previous market research revealed that many artists in the Chicago area forego legal services because they do not know where to find legal help. Based on this insight, it is crucial for the practice to be easy to locate. It will be critically important for the practice to have a strong online presence, so that potential clients can find us through a Google search, and, once they find us, the site must be accessible and easy to navigate. Once launched, the practice’s website will serve as means of establishing communication and as a first-step to new-client intake through the use of web-forms and a contact page. The website will also provide information about the services provided, and, if possible, will be home to testimonials from satisfied clients who have agreed to allow us to use their feedback.
While a strong online presence will facilitate accessibility for artists conducting general searches for legal services, a more hands-on approach will help bring in new clients by entering and engaging the community in person. Because Chicago is a thriving hub for artists, there are hundreds of organizations and programs dedicated to providing artists with the resources they need. By establishing relationships with these organizations, the practice can aspire to bring in new clients through word-of-mouth recommendations from the organizations.
Additionally, it will be important to get the practice’s name and image out into the various artistic communities in Chicago by physically occupying visible spaces within the city. That is, hanging and posting flyers and printed materials in places where artists are likely to be working will be a reliable way to get our name and practice out into these spaces. Having worked in dozens of the cities coffee shops, having attended shows in bars and theaters throughout the city, and having attended seminars and lectures at schools and community centers, I believe they are a cost-effective and creative method of marketing to potential clients.
Finally, maintaining client relationships is important, so as part of the marketing strategy, a continuing effort will be made to market our services to existing clients through email updates and a mailing list.
Price/Quality Curve ,
My business strategy is to provide high quality legal services for a low price point. To set my price for given services, I will compare services anticipated to be rendered to those offered by sites such as Legal Zoom and Simplicity Law. Currently, in-person high quality legal services set at a low price point are virtually non-existent in the market in which I will operate. As mentioned, artists primarily rely on services provided by volunteer and pro bono organizations. Because I will be able to devote full attention and resources to my clients, I believe that I can provide them with superior services at a compelling price-point.