Oregon Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

In Defense of Art

In Defense of Art is the official blog of Oregon Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

June, 2017 Newsletter


Martin Medeiros leads our June workshop

Martin Medeiros leads our June workshop

Thank you to everyone who attended the season finale of our "Second Monday" workshop series. On June 12 attorney Martin Medeiros led a workshop entitled "Negotiation Skills and Strategies for Artists" at El Centro Milagro in southeast Portland.

Our "Second Monday" workshop series will resume in September with more relevant topics for Oregon's creative community.

Thanks to our partner,  RACC for their continued workshop support.








From biology to chemistry to philosophy and now law, our newest board member, Jia Feng sat down with us recently to discuss art, science, law and life in Portland.

Tell us about yourself and what brought you to Portland. 
In addition to being an attorney at Res Nova Law, I’m also an artist and former scientist. Before moving to Portland for law school in 2012, I was studying philosophy and chemistry in undergrad, and then biology in grad school. Roughly two years into my Ph.D. studies, I decided biology research wasn’t for me, and that I’d give law school a shot. Turns out I love being a lawyer! Intellectual property law is truly an amalgam of my favorite things: art, science, and philosophy. I also love helping my creative and innovative clients protect their valuable ideas. Being in Portland is a huge plus too—between the lush landscapes, grey skies, bountiful vegan food, and proximity to nature, what’s not to love?

How did you get involved with OVLA? 
I first learned about OVLA from my boss Susan Ford, who was and continues to be involved with OVLA as a volunteer lawyer. It seemed like a great opportunity to do pro bono work, and I really support OVLA’s mission of making legal services more accessible to Portland’s creative community. Susan and I met with some OVLA clients together in fall of 2016, and I had a really great experience with those clients, as well as the program altogether. Then in spring of 2017, we worked with OVLA—and local artist Sabrina Elliott—to put together a panel on copyright issues for Design Week Portland. That was super fun and rewarding, so when OVLA approached me to join the board of directors, I jumped on the opportunity. I feel so incredibly honored to be a part of this wonderful organization and am very excited about what’s in store for us.

What do you bring to OVLA and what do you get from being involved with OVLA? 
From a purely legal standpoint, I’m able to help OVLA clients make smart business decisions by advising them on whether their inventions (including designs) are patentable, guiding them through the process of applying for IP protection, helping them enforce their IP rights, and even defending against claims of IP infringement in court and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Under a more holistic view, I’m very passionate about helping the creative community—especially lower income folks—so I bring a lot of enthusiasm and follow-through to OVLA. I get a lot of personal and career satisfaction from being a trusted legal advisor to creatives, as well as spreading the word about OVLA’s services.

What are the biggest challenges for local artists and arts organizations in Oregon and how do you think OVLA can help? 
I think the biggest challenge is a lack of accessibility, on multiple levels. Law firms are often unaffordable and therefore not an option for independent creatives and small arts organizations. Affordability aside, a lot of artists are also intimidated by the idea of seeking legal counsel. I totally get it, because it’s not easy for everyone to go into what might likely be a very corporate space and talk to people you might not have anything in common with. That’s why OVLA is so needed—not only do we provide pro bono services, but we’re also approachable because it really shows that we care a great deal about the arts and are genuinely here to help. In addition to our pro bono legal clinics, OVLA’s programming is also great because it provides an opportunity for the community to learn more about all sorts of law relevant to the arts.



If you need legal help, apply to get matched with one of our volunteer attorneys through our legal clinic. If driving to our clinic in Portland is difficult for you, we can also offer consultations by phone. Sessions are by appointment and based on household/organization income.

Applications are due two weeks prior to the desired clinic date. Click here for more information and to apply.

Upcoming legal clinic dates are as follows:

July 21

August 18



We are grateful to recognize the support of the following 2017 sponsors:

Patrons: $5,000 and up

Kay Kitagawa and Andy Johnson-Laird

The Oregon Community Foundation

The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation

Sponsors: $1,000-$4,999

Immix Law Group

The Intellectual Property Section of the Oregon State Bar

Oregon Arts Commission

Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC)

Wyse Kadish LLP

Stoll Berne