The Berkeley Students in Support of Arts and Innovation SLP was created to provide first-year students with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in intellectual property law while giving back to the Bay Area’s creative community. Like many other students, the founders of this SLP were drawn to Berkeley Law specifically because of its overwhelming commitment to public service and its renowned intellectual property faculty and coursework. Moreover, they came to Berkeley to experience the Bay Area’s creative culture, from artists and musicians to trailblazers in the technology sphere. This SLP will enable Berkeley students to engage with these diverse communities and help them to flourish while gaining insight into the building blocks of copyright, trademark, and patent law.
Students work directly with the Berkeley office of California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA), which has been providing pro bono legal services for the creative arts community since 1974. CLA provides a Certified Lawyer Referral Service that connects pro bono and modest means clients with attorneys who are familiar with the relevant intellectual property issues. Many prospective clients call CLA to discuss legal matters that can be addressed through a brief consultation with a CLA attorney. Berkeley Students in Support of Arts and Innovation partners with CLA to conduct these consultations by providing support services for on-staff attorneys at the Berkeley office.
Example projects include: copyright and trademark registration, legal research on fair use, helping low-income inventors navigate the patent system, copyright termination of transfer, collaboration agreements between creative artists, contract drafting and review, and formation of California corporate entities by artists to commercialize creative works. Each semester will also include at least one outreach event, in which students attend local artistic events, set-up an informational booth, and share information about CLA and the project’s services.
Assignments vary weekly according to clients’ needs. Some legal research work takes place outside of the clinic setting in preparation for face-to-face consultations. CLA attorneys review the research memos, give feedback, and lead the consultations as Berkeley students provide support services. Many assignments, like copyright and trademark registration, involve filling out forms with clients, after which the forms are reviewed by a supervising attorney. The wide range of assignments cultivates students’ research and writing skills, teaches them how to interact with clients, and introduces them to CLA mentors.
The estimated time commitment for this pro bono project is 3-6 hours per week, or between 30-35 hours per semester, depending on how much time students are willing to dedicate to the effort. The specific days and times for weekly commitments have not yet been decided, but the project leaders will work with CLA to ensure that face-to-face consultations do not interfere with students’ class schedules. Research assignments are flexible and can be conducted outside the clinic setting. At the start of the semester, students will participate in a mandatory three-hour training.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at BerkeleySSAI@gmail.com.