Lawyers and their design clients: Collaboration of the right and left brain

Lawyers and their design clients: Collaboration of the right and left brain

Let’s get creative, shall we? It’s 2016, and it’s high time we engage all portions of our brains.

 That thought occurred to me when I heard from the smart and talented folks at Daza Design. You can read more about them at the bottom of this post (and maybe even contact them with a small or large design request). Someone at Daza asked me whether my readers ever have to interact with clients who are artists, performers, or designers? If so, those clients might have special needs that require special handling.

I bit, as I was interested in the topic and thought you might be too. What they sent follows below, in today’s guest blog post. Enjoy, read, consider, and then do something creative with your day!

In this day and age, content for so many different media platforms is created every day by creative agencies, design studios, or even freelance designers. With the amount of content that’s put out into the internet, there are bound to be legal issues that arise with all the intellectual property floating around.

daza-design logoMore than any time in the world, designers need lawyers and their legal advice. It’s become increasingly apparent, even painfully so, that the general public doesn’t understand legalese. As a professional communicator — which lawyers can be described as — it’s your duty to better understand the needs of your designer client. Knowing your designer client will help you connect with them and allow you to share your legal advice more effectively.

What you must know is that there is one thing that universally connects all designers: their content. Intellectual property theft is the one fear that unites all designers. Failing to protect their intellectual property rights can lead to serious repercussions for a designer’s career. Designers know this and it’s what makes your role as a legal advisor and their lawyer that much more crucial to their success.

All designers need contracts!

Designers want to trust their clients, but any good lawyer would tell them to use a contract before initiating any business negotiations. Experienced designers are aware of this and never fail to present a contract before proceeding with a client’s project, but designer neophytes may find themselves without one. Help them understand that the contracts you draft for their services will help protect their rights.

As a lawyer, you want to be as competitive as possible to attain (and in some cases, retain) the services of your designer client. Time is of the essence in any profession, but more so for designers and design agencies of whom are always working against the clock to deliver their contracted projects. This means that your designer client may expect you to draft up a contract specific to their needs as quickly and as effectively as possible. As their lawyer, it’s your responsibility, and obligation, to match their pace step-by-step.

Understanding the designer client requires a specific focus.

Understanding the designer client requires a specific focus.

Every designer needs their own terms and conditions.

The nature of the designer’s business is the rendering of services. As essential as contracts are for designers, it’s just as crucial that designers provide their own terms of service. These terms and conditions are another added layer of protection that a lawyer can develop for their designer clients. Many times, designers simply don’t have the time nor the experience to draft their own. Sometimes drafting short disclaimers or finding generic templates online aren’t as helpful as teaming up with a local lawyer.

Designer clients seek a lawyer who can not only draft the terms and conditions in the shortest amount of time, but who has the ability to individualize and customize their terms for them. This is your chance as a lawyer to show the initiative of establishing certain components of their terms that they may not have thought of themselves. Adding conditions related to their hour availability or their hourly rates in the terms and conditions can go a long way in making life easy for your designer client.

 Protect their copyright!

As we mentioned, protecting their intellectual property is of top priority for all designers. This part can get especially challenging for designers who have yet to consult with a lawyer. Your legal advice is instrumental to their success. The rights to their work give them the right to collect royalties for the additional use of their designs. Not only that, but it will also keep their work protected from manipulation—another important distinction for your designer clients as their brand and reputation is as important than their design services itself.

Helping designers distinguish how to sell their work without selling their rights is an important thing to clarify with designers. Oftentimes, contracts will have clauses that abolish the designer’s rights over their work. Helping your designer client identify these clauses to have it removed or its scope mitigated will protect your client’s copyright. Lawyers that show initiative in this regard will help them develop more meaningful relationships with their designer clients.

Designers need lawyers more than ever. Whether they’re a freelancer or belong to a large creative studio, designers today are learning that acquiring legal services and advice will be crucial to their career’s success. It’s up to you to take them there.

About Daza Design:

Daza Design is an online design agency that provides website, logo, and print design services. Their top-notch services have helped clients in a wide range of industries. They love all things design. Its what they do from pixels to print.

You can reach Daza Design at:

For the very first time, AZ Attorney has a guest blogger. She is Fiona Causer, currently (as she describes herself) “a student pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies … [who] enjoys writing and seeks to use it as a vehicle to convey ideas and engage others in discussing relevant issues of our day.” She writes here about social media and privacy issues. The opinions in the post are solely those of Ms. Causer. You can reach her directly at fiona.causer1@gmail.com.

Are you interested in writing or collaborating on a guest post? Contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Thanks to Fiona for her thoughtful piece:

Photo from Wired.com, photographer name withheld; digital manipulation by Jesse Lenz

Paralegal Perspective: Is Social Media a Means of Voluntary Expression or Unwanted Exposure?

Guest Post by Fiona Causer

In an era where near-constant surveillance of American citizens is a possibility, do online social media outlets really allow for free speech? In other words, if you know that people are monitoring what you say, can your speech really be considered free? For example, we’ve all held our tongue on Twitter, since we know that all of our followers will hear what we have to say and we don’t want to offend anyone. For folks in the United States, despite having the freedoms of speech and personal privacy granted to us by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights (e.g., via 1st and 4th Amendments, respectively), interpretation and practice can at times be unclear.  This gives rise to many challenges for career legal professionals tasked with sifting through the ambiguity caused by an Internet-based world where personal information is not only widely accessible, but distributed quickly as well. While paralegal certification programs are growing in popularity with more people interested in entering the field of law, the issues created by online social networks will be sure to be a burden on the minds of future professionals in the field of law.

So while we do try to bite our tongue at times to not offend or simply be polite, what happens if we just feel that everyone is listening? Will self-censorship increase if you knew your boss was listening, or if a government operative were monitoring your private Facebook emails. How does this relate to social media and privacy? In two recent instances, there have been cases where people are “listening” to what you’re saying online in a way that can only be deemed invasive.

In the first instance, as reported by the Associated Press, employers are asking potential employees for their Facebook username and password, so they can have full access to the potential employee’s site – and should the job seeker refuse to provide his password, he may be denied employment. As this practice has become publicized, there have been some strong reactions. Facebook stated that under no circumstances should a user provide his password to another individual, since this practice violates Facebook’s user agreement. However, this does not directly address the First and Fourth Amendment issues of freedom of speech and freedom of privacy. The primary issue here is: Do employers have the right to monitor potential employees’ speech, and to investigate their privately-posted material? Senators Charles Schumer (NY) and Richard Blumenthal (CT) feel they may not and have requested that the Department of Justice investigate if the practice violates federal law. Additionally, some states are taking matters into their own hands. As reported by ABC News, Maryland has already passed legislation that makes it illegal for employers to demand social media passwords from potential employees.

An even more troubling instance of monitoring was reported in Wired magazine by journalist James Bamford. His article regarding the NSA reveals that the United States Government is in the business of surveillance. A $2 billion dollar facility is being built in Bluffdale, Utah, called the Utah Data Center. As Mr. Bamford reports, the purpose of the “listening center” is to monitor citizens’ (and foreigners’) emails, cellphone calls, Google searches and electronic purchases. The center will have enough data storage that, for example, all the phone calls and emails of a single person can be easily collected and stored. Meaning that anything you say has the potential to be monitored and later used against you. In such a situation, one justifiably wonders if soon one’s ideas and speech will be free at all.