Meet the founding partners of Bogatin, Corman & Gold. We also invite you to review our longer personal profiles to learn more about our individual backgrounds and practices. If you are interested in obtaining additional information about the firm or its attorneys, please do not hesitate to contact us.
I always wanted to work in the arts. As a kid growing up in Memphis, I loved theatre, music and visual art — but most of all, literature. This love inspired me to pursue a BA in English at Duke, including a wonderful junior year abroad at Warwick University, (U.K.), and an M.A. in Comparative Literature at Essex University, (U.K.), all in the mid 70s. Given the opportunity to continue in the academic setting as a teacher, another “art” which I truly enjoy, I decided instead to test myself in “the real world.” If I couldn’t hack it as a musician or author, I figured I could forge a career as an arts administrator or become a professor after all.
A stint with a regional Arts Council led me to apply for an internship with the National Endowment for the Arts. As the only finalist without an M.A.A., Nancy Hanks, the NEA Director, recommended I attend a year of law school, and return to be an intern. However, that year at Denver University School of Law was a revelation. Not only did I learn the value of critical analysis, I discovered Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and, in particular, Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts (BALA) in California. I also realized that if I pressed, I could earn enough law school credits to graduate in another year and a half. A law school externship at BALA led to an initial offer of employment in San Francisco upon my graduation in 1980. I had found my professional niche in the arts — in the place I always wanted to live.
I worked for BALA (now California Lawyers for the Arts — CLA) while studying for the California Bar Exam, then, in 1981, took an associate position with Willdorf and Stevens, a small San Francisco civil practice which supported my individual development of an arts/ Intellectual Property (IP) practice. As an associate, I became well grounded in personal injury, real estate and contracts law, including litigation practice. Beginning in 1989, I started my own Arts, Entertainment, IP and Personal Injury (PI) practice. The PI practice was always a welcome financial support to the arts law practice since, in accord with the referral practice of CLA, I have always made a concerted effort to provide low cost legal services to artists who could not afford full hourly rates. I am proud that I was elected to serve as the President of CLA for the last eight years.
In conjunction with my interest in, and support of the arts, I have had the pleasure and privilege of serving on the boards of directors of many San Francisco Bay Area non-profit arts organizations including Life on the Water and Climate theatres, and have advised and/or served as counsel to many others including Art Span and ProArts (Open Studios), Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Playhouse, Brava Theater Center, Central Works, Children’s Book Press, Crosspulse, Cultural Odyssey, First Voice, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Overtone Industries, the San Francisco International Arts Festival, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Shotgun Players.
In addition, for almost 0 years now, I have served as a speaker on dozens of topics for CLA, including Artist-Gallery Agreements, Fine Arts Sales Agreements, Artist-Agent relations, Collaboration Agreements, Business Formation, Partnerships and Joint Ventures, Authors and Publishing Agreements, Non-profit incorporation, Music Agreements, Art Conservation Agreements, Public Art and Muralists’ Rights. I have lectured on artists’ rights at all the area art schools including the San Francisco Art Institute, California College of Arts and at the Academy of Arts College. I have been a featured speaker on three occasions at the national CLE International Visual Arts and the Law Conference in New Mexico, where my specialty topic is Artists’ Moral Rights and the Federal Visual Artist Rights Act of 1990. For the last few years I have maintained Bo’s bLAWg focusing on licensing rights and agreement issues, to be found on the CLA and Ann Trou’s Illustrators Blogspot websites.
Indeed, Artists’ Moral Rights have become a sub-specialty of my practice. I have represented dozens of muralists and other fine artists whose works have been damaged or destroyed, and have successfully negotiated settlements involving the repair or replacement of artworks. Where repair or replacement was not available, I have obtained cash settlements for my clients, usually well in excess of the fee for the original commission.
As may be apparent from this personal statement, I believe strongly in my clients’ work and legal rights, and fight hard to obtain the best results possible for them, whether the matter is transaction or litigation-based, and regardless of whether the financial stake is big or small. As a fifth-generation Memphian (whose attorney father enjoyed over 55 year of practice there) with some apparently innate gambling instincts, I enjoy both the negotiation process and the contest of litigation, and pride myself on obtaining the best possible contract terms, claim settlements or litigation results for my clients.
I also take pains to educate clients about the legal issues of their arts business. Since artists are often not “up to speed” on their rights, I can also usually recommend an appropriate legal book for laypersons. Given the growing complexity of the arts business, especially with the introduction of the arts online and the multi-media explosion, I believe it is more important than ever for artists to obtain a general sense of the critical IP business issues they face, including copyright, trademark and licensing. It has been my experience that the more clients can learn about these underlying legal issues, the more they can expect to profit in their very competitive markets. I repeatedly make the point: “You don’t have to give up your copyright; however, if you do, let’s get the best price available. Your coat of many colors should fetch a lot more than a bowl full of pottage.”
As you may have gathered by now, I love my legal practice and the work I am privileged to do. If this weren’t the case, I simply would not practice law. As my clients have demonstrated, there are so many fascinating things to do in the world! I invite you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how I might be of assistance to you.
William Corman was admitted to the California Bar in 1979. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.A., 1973, cum laude) and received his law degree from Hastings College of the Law, University of California, San Francisco (J.D., 1978). Before helping found Bogatin, Corman & Gold, Mr. Corman worked in several different law firm settings and was in-house counsel for two of the largest public employee labor unions in the United States. From 1984-1987, he was staff counsel with National Treasury Employees Union. From 1989-1994, he was staff counsel with California School Employees Association. In 1992, Mr. Corman was named CSEA’s employee of the year.
Mr. Corman’s current practice includes the representation of individuals and class actions in all aspects of employment disputes, including wrongful termination, discrimination, wage and hour claims, harassment and severance issues. He has successfully represented clients with claims against corporations and institutions such as: IBM, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chevron, Kaiser, Hewlett-Packard, the University of California and numerous local, state and federal governmental agencies. He also provides representation to labor organizations such as the West Contra Costa County School Supervisors Association, the Association Employees Union and the Physicians’ and Dentists’ Organization of Contra Costa. Mr. Corman also has specific expertise in the representation of public and private school employees in both K-12 and higher education settings. He is counsel to the California School Personnel Commissioners Association and numerous local merit system school district personnel commissions throughout California. In addition, Mr. Corman provides counsel to non-profit organizations and small businesses on employment issues and personnel matters. He also has sat as an arbitrator for the Alameda County Superior Court, hearing and rendering decisions in over 30 complex civil cases and has served as a hearing officer for school district employee disciplinary proceedings.
In addition to his litigation practice, Mr. Corman is also active in teaching, lecturing and writing. He has taught undergraduate law courses at San Francisco State University and Chabot College in Hayward, California. He regularly presents lectures in employment, labor and education law to attorneys, union members, and educational professionals. His writings are featured in the publications: California Employment Issues in an Economic Downturn (West Publications, 2010) and California Employment Law Issues in a Down Economy (Aspatore Publications, 2010). He has also authored several columns on employment issues that are featured on the avvo.com website. In addition, Mr. Corman was the Legal Advisor and Editorial Consultant for the California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies Personnel Handbook for California Nonprofits.
Andrew M. Gold has represented a broad array of individual and business clients in intellectual property and commercial litigation matters for over 25 years. He has advised individuals and companies large and small with respect to copyright, trademark, right of publicity, licensing and many other issues. He also has extensive commercial litigation experience in the state and federal courts of California and New York.
Mr. Gold received a B.Ph. in interdisciplinary studies from Thomas Jefferson College in 1976, an M.F.A. in theater directing from the California Institute of the Arts in 1979, and a J.D., cum laude, from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1986, where he served as the Articles Editor of the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal. From 1986 until 1990, Mr. Gold was a litigation associate with the international law firm of Coudert Brothers, first in the firm’s New York office, and then in its San Francisco office. From 1990 through 1995, Mr. Gold was with the firm of Stein & Lubin. He joined with his current partners in 1995.
Before becoming a lawyer, Mr. Gold acted, directed and produced for the theater, taught acting and directing and was a literary agent in New York City.