California Lawyers for the Arts Executive Director Alma Robinson Fights For Artistic Creators

Not Your Prototypical Attorney

Online PR News – 22-May-2013 – Los Angeles, CA – Acquiring a law degree from Stanford University is sometimes followed by a stint as the Corporate Counsel for a Fortune 500 company or a career in politics or the judiciary. To the good-fortune of many creative individuals and organizations, Alma Robinson chose a different route. As you’ll see, California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA) Executive Director Alma Robinson is far from the prototypical lawyer.

When you look at Alma Robinson’s list of accomplishments, it’s hard to believe that the list is for one person, not five. Her distinctions include: Stanford University Distinguished Woman; Professional Development Fellow, Wallace A. Gerbode Foundation; Lifetime Achievement Award, Women’s Caucus for Art, Northern CA Region; Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership, California Arts Council; Unsung Hero Award, Friends of the San Francisco Library; Who's Who in California and more.

Rather than enjoying a rest on her well deserved acknowledgments, Alma Robinson has continuously sought to expand the breadth of California Lawyers for the Arts since she was first employed there in 1980. At the time, CLA was just Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts, servicing artists throughout Northern California, and Alma was hired to start the organization’s model program in alternative dispute resolution for artists. This program, Arts Arbitration and Mediation Services, was expanded to Los Angeles, Sacramento and many lawyers for the arts organizations in states throughout the country adapted CLA’s model.

In the meantime, Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts joined forces with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts-LA, to become California Lawyers for the Arts. The organization, which now has a $700,000 budget and three staffed offices—in Santa Monica, Sacramento, and San Francisco--serves more than 11,000 artists and arts organizations each year through education, legal counseling, alternative dispute resolution, advocacy and information services.

Alma started her career at CLA with the observation that many young and gifted creative people did not have the knowledge or resources to protect their creative work. Robinson believes in the intrinsic value of the creative arts and that the legal framework should serve, not intimidate, creative people. As the organization’s Executive Director, she oversees legal services, education programs, advocacy initiatives and community relations for the statewide agency. Current initiatives include a new pro bono patent application program for low-income inventors, advocacy to restore arts programs in the state’s overcrowded prison system, and arts and environmental dialogues.

Robinson states: “If you enjoy the work of musicians, poets, painters, or coders who creates brilliant programs, you want them to continue creating as long as possible and without the stress and expense of legal disruptions. CLA was formed to arm artists with knowledge to help them avoid legal entanglements and to provide resolution resources to help them solve issues that arise.”

CLA provides its members with numerous workshops that empower artists to protect their work and earn a fair living from their output.

When asked: What’s next? Alma Robinson responds that the California Lawyers for the Arts will be hosting its sixth annual Artistic License Awards celebration. The Artistic License Awards 2013 will take place at the William Turner Gallery located at Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Avenue in Santa Monica, CA 90404 on Sunday, June 30 at 5:00 PM.

The Artistic License Awards were conceived in 2008, with the purpose of recognizing people and organizations that have mastered their arts (intended in the broadest possible sense) in extraordinary ways for the communities they serve. This year’s honorees include Wayne Kramer, co-founder of Jail Guitar Doors, the Intel Corporation for pro bono legal services, and Alan Sieroty, a retired state senator who authored several pieces of groundbreaking arts legislation in California.

“We honor master artists, organizations, attorneys and elected leaders whose acts of generosity and examples of innovation have inspired so many others to stretch beyond their ‘comfort zones’ and take on the challenges of our times,” said Robinson.

For more information contact: Mike Mena at 310-316-0612 or

About California Lawyers for the Arts
California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA) empowers the creative community by providing education, representation and dispute resolution. Artists and arts organizations serve as agents of democratic involvement, innovation, and positive social change, and the growth of an empowered arts sector is essential to healthy communities. CLA’s leadership and services strengthen the arts for the benefit of communities throughout California.