• Do you consider your businessan expression of art and creativity?
  • Do you hire independent contractors?
  • Do you buy or sell art?
  • Do you need advice about creating your business or nonprofit?
  • Do you need a will and health care directive?
  • Are you concerned about copyrights?


Patty and her bassoonAs a professional classical musician and fiber artist myself, I have a deep understanding of the creative process and the commitment necessary to fulfill a vision. Following a highly satisfying career as a professional musician, there was a call to help creative people in the role of attorney. I enjoy working with individuals on their personal legal issues as well as small businesses and non-profits. I am personally invested in the success of the people with whom I work, and frequently am involved in strategic planning and business counseling as well as technical legal representation.

Teaching/Public Speaking

I enjoy teaching, and am currently an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law in Art and Cultural Heritage Law, and until recently also taught at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in the Cultural Leadership Masters Program. I have been invited by numerous educational and business organizations locally and nationally to speak on the subject of copyrights, trademarks, business and nonprofit law.

Community Work

Building sustainable community around art and culture are of high value to me, and I choose to donate time and services in support of that value. I currently sit on the Legal Advisory Board for Springboard for the Arts, and also serve as a volunteer attorney through Springboard’s lawyer referral program. In 2012 I joined the Board of Directors for the Rose Ensemble, an outstanding and award winning vocal ensemble. Following is a listing of some of my past community involvement:

Minnesota State Arts Board, Statewide, Operational Support Grants Panelist
Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Operational Support Grants Panelist
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, St. Paul, MN, Editor of Legal Chapter in Handbook for Minnesota Nonprofits.
The Musical Offering, St. Paul, MN, Board Member,
The Schubert Club, St. Paul, MN, Board Member and Volunteer
Three Legged Race Theater, Minneapolis, MN, Board Member
Zorongo Flamenco, Minneapolis, MN, Board Member
Minnesota Textile Center, Minneapolis, MN
Minnesota State Bar Association, Art, Entertainment and Sports Law Section, President and Officer
St. Paul Academy and Summit School Parents Association, President and Volunteer


William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN Juris Doctor
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, Bachelor of Music in Bassoon Performance
Hochschüle für Musik and Darstellende Künst, Vienna, Austria
Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, Graduate Study in Music and Bassoon Performance
American Symphony Orchestra League, Essentials of Orchestra Management

Testimonials for Patty

Licensing Contract: Giesla, Artist
Intellectual Property: Terri, Writer

Licensing Contract: Giesla, Artist

I was referred to Patty through the Springboard for the Arts lawyer referral service because I needed a licensing contract reviewed and revised.  She was incredibly helpful, answered all my questions, and was with me every step of the way through the entire process.  I felt that throughout the entire negotiation process that Patty was always looking out for my best interests.  She was so attentive to all my questions that I felt as thought I was her only client!

Patty made definitely made me feel comfortable right from the beginning, which is important to me in general whenever I am hiring a professional to help me.  I knew that I could trust her to guide me in making the best decisions for myself and my art business.  Without a doubt I would recommend Patty to others if they needed advice on their art business.

Intellectual Property: Terri, Writer

“It’s silly, but I was terribly afraid of a lecture. Of course I should have known better than to do what I did. Everyone knows you should spell out the legal details of a collaboration in writing at the beginning of the effort, while all parties are feeling warm and fuzzy about it.

But my colleague was also my friend. We’d worked together before, and we got along great! We’d get the details on paper eventually. In the meantime, what could possibly go wrong?

Our book was 90 percent written by the time the fate of our shared intellectual property became a point of dispute. If we had been clearer with each other with what we intended from the beginning, the book likely would never have been written. But you can’t un-ring a bell.

I turned to Patty Zurlo on the recommendation of another attorney whose judgment I respect deeply.

Two things delighted me when I met with Patty for the first time. First, there was no finger-wagging. Instead she chuckled and observed that if artists habitually took care of the legal details before launching a creative collaboration, very little would ever get launched. I had learned my lesson the hard way; Patty saw no reason to rub it in and every reason to believe I would be more careful next time.

Second, she believed that there could be a happy ending to my story. My relationship with my colleague was badly damaged, but Patty had helped resolve thorny, ego-invested challenges before. She would be looking out for my interests first and foremost, but the best deals were those that encouraged a win-win. And to my great relief she could see the possibility of a mutually satisfying resolution even when the conflict looked intractable to me.

Working through our intellectual-property dispute was not pleasant. But from start to successful finish Patty was crisply professional and warmly encouraging. She always spoke plainly and forthrightly, always took the time to be sure I understood my options, and always remained mindful of optimizing my limited budget at the time.

I am deeply grateful to Patty for her guidance and professional handling of my conflict. I recommend her services without reservation. Certainly I will call on her advice again – at the beginning of a process, so I won’t need her at the end!