Have we missed an organization? Please email info@writersunion.ca with the details so we can add to this list.

The following legal organizations provide free assistance to writers. These organizations offer legal advice, workshops, and other resources for professional artists.

  • Artists Legal Outreach
    Serving artists in BC
    Artists Legal Outreach (ALO) is a group of volunteer lawyers and law students committed to working with artists and arts organizations. ALO offers resources, workshops, and clinics where artists across BC can meet confidentially with an experienced lawyer. Every artistic discipline is welcome, all for the price of a donation.
    Learn more: artistslegaloutreach.com

  • Artists’ Legal Advice Services
    Serving artists in Ontario
    Artists’ Legal Advice Services (ALAS) provides free summary legal advice to artists living in Ontario, Canada. For almost three decades, ALAS has been helping artists, actors, musicians, dancers, writers, and filmmakers address their legal problems. ​ALAS typically assists with issues relating to contracts, defamation, copyright, trademarks and royalties or other payments.
    Learn more: alasontario.ca

  • Artists’ Legal Services Ottawa
    Serving artists in the Ottawa area
    Artists’ Legal Services Ottawa (ALSO) is a group of volunteer lawyers, artists and arts industry professionals dedicated to connecting Ottawa-area artists with legal information and resources that can help address legal problems related to artists’ professional practices.
    Learn more:
  • Artists’ Legal Information Society
    Serving artists in Atlantic Canada
    Artists’ Legal Information Society (ALIS) provides accessible legal information, workshops, and library resources to artists and arts organizations. ALIS offers assistance to actors, musicians, dancers, writers, filmmakers, and visual artists in area of contracts, defamation, copyright, royalties, and more.
    Learn more:

The following are private law firms with specializations for authors. These services will not be free but are designed to be affordable for artists.

  • Arts & Lifestyle Law
    Creative law for arts and wellness professionals. Aruna Dahanayake is a lawyer licensed by the Law Society of Ontario. He earned his law degree at the University of Toronto and worked at an elite Toronto firm for several years before starting A&L Law. Previously, he managed a legal clinic for artists, worked as an editor and studied publishing at Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
    Learn more: arts-lifestyle-law.com

  • Mark Bourrie MJ PhD JD
    Barrister and Solicitor, Ottawa
    Union member and member of the Bar of Ontario willing to help with contract advice, as well as for libel vetting and defence.
     Mark specializes in media law and also handles contract cases. He has successfully defended defamation and libel cases, SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) lawsuits, and actions against whistle-blowers.
    Contact: Mark Bourrie, 613-255-2158

  • Jeananne Kathol Kirwin, K.C.
    Jeananne Kathol Kirwin, K.C. is an IP lawyer of 35+ years, and an award-winning author. Her non-fiction (and occasional poetry) appears in various publications. She chairs the advocacy committee of Canadian Authors Association, is a past editor of an intellectual property law journal and writes a copyright column for Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s WestWord. She regularly advises authors. 

  • Hebb & Sheffer
    Lawyers practicing in association. Entertainment law contracts (book publishing, music, film); intellectual property (copyrights and trademarks); business law (incorporation, shareholder agreements); defamation.
    Learn more: hebbsheffer.ca

Literary consultants are not necessarily lawyers, but are industry experts offering services to authors. 

  • Sally Keefe Cohen
    A literary consultant based on in Toronto who has negotiated book contracts for Canadian writers and writers' estates for over 20 years. She acts on behalf of both previously unpublished and published authors to ensure that their right are protected and the most favourable book contract possible is completed. 
    Learn more: 

These lists are intended as guides only. The Writers’ Union of Canada does not officially endorse any of the organizations or individuals listed above. Hebb & Sheffer have worked as the Union’s legal counsel for many years.