Eligibility Requirements for Individuals

Generally:

1.         The applicant must be an artist (includes visual and literary arts, music, dance, film and performance artists).

2.         The applicant’s legal problem must be art-related, that is, the problem must be
closely related to the client’s profession or status as an artist.

3.         Determination of art-relatedness depends on the particular facts of each case.  Applications which are borderline or questionable will be referred to the attention of the MdVLA officer in charge of operations who will render a final decision on the case as to eligibility.

Financially:

4.         Individual annual gross income must not exceed $40,000 per year.

5.         Additional Family Members:  An additional $2,000.00 gross annual income will be allowed.

All income in the family unit must be counted in determining eligibility.  A family is two or more people consisting of either married individuals and dependent children under 1, or a parent and dependent children under 1.  Where related adult individuals who are not spouses or dependents, or unrelated adults reside together, each adult and his/her dependent children shall be considered a separate family.

6.         Borderline Cases and Extraordinary Circumstances:  Where an individual or family has a gross annual income which exceeds the maximum financial eligibility guidelines by $2,000 or less, or where an applicant can demonstrate extraordinary circumstances affecting his/her finances, the applicant may still qualify.  The amount of the extra expenses when deducted from the gross annual income must produce a net annual income within the eligibility guidelines.  The extraordinary circumstances must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the MdVLA.

7.         Students:  The family unit size for a student depends on whether the student receives a contribution in cash or in-kind from his family.  If the student receives substantial contribution or is dependent for the family’s tax purposes, eligibility is determined based on the entire family unit.

8.         Other Assets:  MdVLA shall have the right in determining eligibility to consider any relevant assets including real estate, stocks and other securities, bank accounts, automobiles, etc.  Individual judgment is used in each case.  MdVLA reserves the right to require verification of all financial information.

9.         Senior Citizens:  Asset limitations for individuals over age 60 are more flexible in terms of eligibility.
10.       Changes in Financial Circumstances:  As stated on the application form, any changes in financial status that may affect eligibility must be reported to MdVLA during the course of MdVLA service.

If a client becomes ineligible during the course of representation due to substantial changes in circumstances, the client will be considered ineligible for further assistance.  However, exceptions may be made where immediate termination of services would result in undue hardship on the client (e.g. litigation).  The MdVLA attorney representing the client will be contacted to discuss the possibility of further pro bono representation only until such time as private counsel could reasonably be obtained by the client.

11.       Fee Generating Cases:  If the applicant’s legal matter is likely to generate substantial attorney’s fees, MdVLA has the discretion to refer the case to Lawyer Referral and Information Services.

12.       Administrative Fee:  There is a non-refundable administrative fee of $35 payable to Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.  This fee may be waived in certain cases. Please enclose a check or money order with the application. You may also submit payment through the PayPal Donation button located on our website.  If you submit payment in this way, please put your name and the words “Application Fee” in the Purpose box before submitting your donation.

Where the applicant’s case is incapable of being handled through the MdVLA for any reason, the case may be referred to Lawyer Referral and Information Services.