Need Legal Help

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osprey
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:01 am
Burning Since: 2011
Camp Name: HBGB Healers

Need Legal Help

Post by osprey » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:37 pm

Hi,

We're a medium size camp with a long history on playa that is finally organizing as a 501c3. We need a Nevada attorney who can help us with waivers of liability and other such matters. We're good people, from all over the world, doing good things. For 20 years, the camp has served several thousand people each year on playa with body, mind, spirit healing. We are all volunteer and we run on a very tight budget.

It only took 20 years to figure out that we need to organize as a non-profit. Part of this process is drafting and reviewing our camp legal agreements.

Can YOU recommend an attorney licensed in Nevada, who is also a Burner, who might be able to help us?

Did YOU sign a waiver to join your camp this year? If so, would you mind sharing it?

Please respond in this thread with legal resources and your ideas. Also, if you'd rather not share information publicly, feel free to PM me.

Obviously, we have very limited capital resources. A volunteer attorney would be rewarded with all sorts of gratitude from people all over the world. Of course, everyone also deserves to be paid for their expertise, too. So message me. We'll figure out fair comp, cash or gratitude, together.

Thank you.
-O

p.s. The back of the ticket doesn't cover us and it doesn't cover you, either. It covers the org.

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Captain Goddammit
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Camp Name: First Camp
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Re: Need Legal Help

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:16 pm

And this officially indicates the fun is over.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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lucky420
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Camp Name: Dye with Dignity
Location: Reno, NV

Re: Need Legal Help

Post by lucky420 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:12 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:16 pm
And this officially indicates the fun is over.
Agreed. I’m very glad/fortunate that my camp isn’t out of control size wise and that it’s basically the same people, with virgins ebbing and flowing some years.

You might try posting on the Reno Burners FB page too
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Ratty
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Camp Name: Tiger Man

Re: Need Legal Help

Post by Ratty » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:33 am

Capt, I agree. This is beyond me. Gather friends, camp together, enjoy Burning Man.
Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah

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ACfromSAC
Posts: 345
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:14 pm
Burning Since: 2023
Camp Name: SLAYER!

Re: Need Legal Help

Post by ACfromSAC » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:13 am

Sure makes my open camp experience with friends & burners I've met along the way seem like the right way to go. Drink, be merry, serve drinks to strangers, play loud heavy metal, drink some more, serve some more, see art, make art, make friends, go home happy.

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some seeing eye
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Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: Need Legal Help

Post by some seeing eye » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:26 am

I would reach out to other camps and ask if they can share their contracts with anything they like redacted. There are several Faceboo theme camp organizer groups.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

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Papa Bear
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Camp Name: Astral Headwash. Not a Placer
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Re: Need Legal Help

Post by Papa Bear » Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:58 pm

lucky420 wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:12 am
I’m very glad/fortunate that my camp isn’t out of control size wise and that it’s basically the same people, with virgins ebbing and flowing some years.
I understand that a theme camp of this size isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I also feel like there may be some unjustified assumptions being made about this particular camp.

In this case, we're talking about a ~65 member camp that has been on playa continuously for 20 years. The HeeBees are a pretty closely knit community, both on and off-playa. They have many people who come back year after year, plus a few virgins who join each year, and a few others who retire or go on to try different things, yet are still considered part of that community and are always welcomed back. And full disclosure - that last category applies to me, too (my last year with them was 2004).

So in many ways, they're like your camp, just bigger. 65 may seem large, but they chose that size because through some early trial and error, they found out it works. It's big enough that they have plenty of hands to do what needs done, but not so big that they lose their sense of internal connection, responsibility, and community. That's why they are still going 20 years later, despite multiple complete changes in leadership - every time a TCO needed to step down, other campmates stepped up to take on the work of keeping it going.

While I'm not privy to the discussions that prompted this change, it makes sense to me. A camp like this has infrastructure that has been purchased over an extended period of time using members' camp fees. Formalizing the organizational structure helps clarify ownership and protect that community. For example, what happens if a TCO runs into legal trouble, or is subject to some kind of a lien? If the camp isn't a separate legal entity, it's possible that all of the camp funds and infrastructure could be seized to satisfy those obligations.

Similarly, there's also the matter of liability protection. Wiser mutant vehicle owners and installation artists have known for years that the "fine print on the back of the ticket" may help shield the org, but doesn't do much to help them if someone has a grievance and hauls them into court. The same problem applies to theme camps - and as a camp that offers massage and bodywork, the HeeBees are vulnerable on that front.

Becoming a 401C probably doesn't solve that problem, but it may help - even if it just simplifies the process of obtaining insurance, or adds an extra layer that a plaintiff's attorneys have to break through to try to sue camp leads personally.

And yeah, I agree that dealing with that stuff sucks and isn't any fun. We'd like to imagine that everyone really does take responsibility for themselves out there, and that all the outside legal stuff isn't something we have to worry about. But that hasn't been true in all the years I've been participating, if indeed it was ever true at all.

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lucky420
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Re: Need Legal Help

Post by lucky420 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:38 am

Papa Bear wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:58 pm
lucky420 wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:12 am
I’m very glad/fortunate that my camp isn’t out of control size wise and that it’s basically the same people, with virgins ebbing and flowing some years.
I understand that a theme camp of this size isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I also feel like there may be some unjustified assumptions being made about this particular camp.

In this case, we're talking about a ~65 member camp that has been on playa continuously for 20 years. The HeeBees are a pretty closely knit community, both on and off-playa. They have many people who come back year after year, plus a few virgins who join each year, and a few others who retire or go on to try different things, yet are still considered part of that community and are always welcomed back. And full disclosure - that last category applies to me, too (my last year with them was 2004).

So in many ways, they're like your camp, just bigger. 65 may seem large, but they chose that size because through some early trial and error, they found out it works. It's big enough that they have plenty of hands to do what needs done, but not so big that they lose their sense of internal connection, responsibility, and community. That's why they are still going 20 years later, despite multiple complete changes in leadership - every time a TCO needed to step down, other campmates stepped up to take on the work of keeping it going.

While I'm not privy to the discussions that prompted this change, it makes sense to me. A camp like this has infrastructure that has been purchased over an extended period of time using members' camp fees. Formalizing the organizational structure helps clarify ownership and protect that community. For example, what happens if a TCO runs into legal trouble, or is subject to some kind of a lien? If the camp isn't a separate legal entity, it's possible that all of the camp funds and infrastructure could be seized to satisfy those obligations.

Similarly, there's also the matter of liability protection. Wiser mutant vehicle owners and installation artists have known for years that the "fine print on the back of the ticket" may help shield the org, but doesn't do much to help them if someone has a grievance and hauls them into court. The same problem applies to theme camps - and as a camp that offers massage and bodywork, the HeeBees are vulnerable on that front.

Becoming a 401C probably doesn't solve that problem, but it may help - even if it just simplifies the process of obtaining insurance, or adds an extra layer that a plaintiff's attorneys have to break through to try to sue camp leads personally.

And yeah, I agree that dealing with that stuff sucks and isn't any fun. We'd like to imagine that everyone really does take responsibility for themselves out there, and that all the outside legal stuff isn't something we have to worry about. But that hasn't been true in all the years I've been participating, if indeed it was ever true at all.
Umm ok. My personal opinion is that a camp that size would be to big for my liking. So these are all good valid points you make and I don’t personally have any reason to debate you on it. Unqualified assumption? I don’t know I’ve been in 2 diff villages that are run very differently. While that’s not the same as one large camp, it’s the closest I come to it. I’m just saying that’s to many people for me. That’s all, I’m sure these people are all well adapted, it’s obvious if they’ve ran a successful camp for this long.

But why did you pick my comment to quote? Ya got the Capt up there being his surly self...
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Papa Bear
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Re: Need Legal Help

Post by Papa Bear » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:25 am

lucky420 wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:38 am
Umm ok. My personal opinion is that a camp that size would be to big for my liking.
Yup, perfectly fair. Like I said, a camp that size isn't everyone's cup of tea. I've come to prefer smaller myself.
lucky420 wrote: Unqualified assumption?
Not unqualified - unjustified. It seemed like you were assuming their issues were because their camp size was out of control, or that it wasn't largely a group of friends camping together. Apologies if I misread you.
lucky420 wrote: But why did you pick my comment to quote?
Wasn't trying to pick on you. I just thought yours was a good example of a general theme that was developing in the responses, and had a couple of specific points I could reference from to explain a different angle.

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A-RockLeFrench
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Camp Name: THREAT
Location: USA

Re: Need Legal Help

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:40 pm

Have you reached out to Lawyers for Burners yet? They usually deal with criminal defense but might be able to point you in the direction of burner friendly corporate lawyer. But really more than a burner lawyer you need a lawyer who is good at setting up 501c3's, a good attorney doesn't need to know much about BM to write legal agreements. A good corporate lawyer might even tell you that an LLC is a better idea than a 501c3..
osprey wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:37 pm
Obviously, we have very limited capital resources. A volunteer attorney would be rewarded with all sorts of gratitude from people all over the world. Of course, everyone also deserves to be paid for their expertise, too. So message me. We'll figure out fair comp, cash or gratitude, together.
Lawyering is like any other service, you get what you pay for. And there's an astoundingly large amount of lawyers out there who are not very good at their jobs. Rather than trying to find someone to work pro bono, if legal protection and structure is something thats really important for your organization it's probably worth it to consider ponying up and investing in it like you would any other critical aspect of your camp organizing.

If ya'll are considering waivers and shit, I'd recommend carrying liability insurance for the camp if you don't already. Insurance is way better protection than any release of liability can ever be. I know an agent that sells burning man insurance, pm for more info.

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lucky420
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Re: Need Legal Help

Post by lucky420 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:11 pm

Papa Bear wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:25 am
lucky420 wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:38 am
Umm ok. My personal opinion is that a camp that size would be to big for my liking.
Yup, perfectly fair. Like I said, a camp that size isn't everyone's cup of tea. I've come to prefer smaller myself.
lucky420 wrote: Unqualified assumption?


Not unqualified - unjustified. It seemed like you were assuming their issues were because their camp size was out of control, or that it wasn't largely a group of friends camping together. Apologies if I misread you.
lucky420 wrote: But why did you pick my comment to quote?
Wasn't trying to pick on you. I just thought yours was a good example of a general theme that was developing in the responses, and had a couple of specific points I could reference from to explain a different angle.
(((Papa Bear))) sorry for any misunderstanding :mrgreen:
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Canoe
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Re: Need Legal Help

Post by Canoe » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:34 pm

A-RockLeFrench wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:40 pm
... A good corporate lawyer might even tell you that an LLC is a better idea than a 501c3...

...if legal protection and structure is something thats really important for your organization it's probably worth it to consider ponying up and investing in it like you would any other critical aspect of your camp organizing.

If ya'll are considering waivers and shit, I'd recommend carrying liability insurance for the camp if you don't already. Insurance is way better protection than any release of liability can ever be. I know an agent that sells burning man insurance, pm for more info.
This!

So many stories over the years about waivers and shit turning out to be legally worthless. But it may succeed in discouraging someone considering suing - if they don't get a lawyer...
That's one word I regret googling during breakfast.
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osprey
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:01 am
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Camp Name: HBGB Healers

Re: Need Legal Help

Post by osprey » Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:10 am

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. The camp is already doing everything a non-profit does. Legal organization will allow us to much more easily raise capital to replace infrastructure, recruit and retain leadership, provide an operating structure and support the volunteers who contribute so much, year after year.

It's a no-brainer. It just takes a little work to set up properly.

Legal review in Nevada is just one of those checklist items.

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