Brooke Oliver

Brooke Oliver: Attorney with 50 Balmy Law P.C. AV stamp icon
  • Partner at 50 Balmy Law P.C. (1 Attorney)
  • 50 Balmy Alley St., San Francisco, CA 94110
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Brooke founded this firm in 1994. Brooke is creative, passionate, rigorous, and scholarly, People who are the best at what they do turn to Brooke when they need a lawyer. A strategic thinker, Brooke is perhaps best at helping accomplished clients to protect and structure their artistic and activist legacies.

She served as the legal architect of Burning Man's transition to nonprofit status, helped the Jerry Garcia Estate LLC establish a program to publish, distribute, and tour Jerry's visual art, and helped the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation create a lasting infrastructure to carry on Cesar's legacy. She helped Math Hall of Fame educator and author Marilyn Burns sell her company to a publicly traded entity, and handles her intellectual property interests.

An A-V rated attorney since 1998, Brooke's expertise is respected at the highest levels of the art world internationally and on the streets. She served as co-chair of a national Visual Arts & the Law Conference for twelve years, is sought as one the nation's experts on the Visual Artists' Rights Act, and has lectured on art law in the U.S., Mexico, and Rome. Brooke has been called “a folk hero of copyright law” for her role in landmark court decisions that protect visual artists. Brooke was selected as a top rated lawyer in Intellectual Property Law for 2015 by American
Her knowledge of tax exempt organizations is sought by people who want to follow the rules yet be innovative. She counsels on the entire life cycle of tax-exempt organizations, and defends clients in Attorney General or IRS challenges to exempt status.

Before law school, she learned about the strength of people united while serving for ten years as a labor organizer, and about the power of business and money while working seven years for an angel investor.

For over forty years, Brooke has been a civil, economic, and social justice activist. She speaks conversational Spanish, mostly pocho. San Francisco and the California State Senate have honored her “outstanding leadership and engagement in the LGBT community.” She serves on the Latino Community Advisory Board and the Calle 24 Council, which is steering San Francisco's groundbreaking Latino Cultural District. She is a past Treasurer of BALIF (the LGBT bar association) and a past President of SPARC mural arts in Los Angeles. In college, she was a bodyguard for Cesar Chavez when he was in Davis, and was a translator at the farmworker service center at DQ University.

Brooke and her wife of 20 years, Elba Rivera, founded and co-lead the Que Viva! theme camp at Burning Man. Its Migration is Beautiful theme brings artists, change-makers, and social justice advocates from communities traditionally underrepresented to Burning Man, and shares the immigrant experience on the playa. Brooke is proud to be the only lawyer in the nation who is both a Saint of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (St. Brooke of the Patent Leather Legal Briefs) and an honorary patch holder of Dykes on Bikes. Many artists call her the “Sheriff of Balmy Alley.” She is tough, works hard, laughs often, and collects art.

Publications: -Non-Profit Public Advocacy and Activism Without Jeopardizing Your 501(c)(3) Tax Status; CAPI Conferencel, 2009; -"New Media Art Works: BioArt, Digital Media, Installations & CopyLeft" CLE International, 2008; -Muralists' Legal Rights; 2006 International Mural Conference; -Native American Art Themes and Legal Issues (with Cheryl Fairbanks, Esq.); CLE International, 2006; -New Media Art: The Artist's Perspective in Museum Acquisitions, ALI-ABA Museum Administrators Conference, 2005; -VARA/CAPA Legal Update; CLE International, 2005; -Art-Related Tax Issues; San Francisco Art Institute, 2005; -Trademark Basics; 2005; -"Expanding Art Markets: Prints, Certificates of Authenticity, and Art Licensing" CLE International 2004; -Art On & Off the Wall: Rights of Integrity & Attribution in Murals and Sculptures; ABA Intellectual Property Section Conference, Summer 2003; -Interview with Laurence H. Tribe, Constitutional Scholar and Muralist; 2001; -"Balancing Muralists' Intellectual Property with Real Property Rights" Artistic License Vol. 8/No. 1 (1999). Representative Clients: Burning Man Project, Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar, Corbis, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Dykes on Bikes, Ecology Center, Eyvind Earle Publishing, Nina Simone Estate, Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd., San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, San Francisco Pride Celebration, San Francisco World Music Festival, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Society for the Promotion of Japanese Anime, Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC, United Farm Workers Union. Reported Cases: -McDermott v. San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent, 240 Fed. Appx. 865 (Fed. Cir. 2007), cert denied, 552 U.S. 1109 (2008); -Bissoon-Dath v. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., 94 U.S.P.Q. 2s 1273 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 9, 2010); -Others v. Princess Cruises; -Corbis v. Others; -Music Legends v. Restaurant Franchisor; -UFW and Dolores Huerta v. Major Corporation; -Campusano v. Cort; -UFW v. Aeromexico; -Gonzales v. Sandoval. Speaking Engagements: Co-Chair: Visual Arts & The Law Annual Conference, CLE International

(Managing Partner)

Areas of Practice (5)

  • Copyrights
  • Trademarks
  • Art Law
  • Nonprofit & Social Entrepreneurship
  • Intellectual Property Law

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
(415) 641-1116  Phone
(415) 695-1116  Fax
University Attended:
University of California, Davis, B.S., highest honors
Law School Attended:
Golden Gate University, J.D., highest honors
Year of First Admission:
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; 2004, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California; 2002, U.S. Tax Court; 2006, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California; 1995, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California; 2004, U.S. District Court, Central District of California; 1994, California
Bar Association of San Francisco; American Bar Association; San Francisco Intellectual Property Association; Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF); Graphic Artists Guild; California Lawyers for the Arts
Birth Information:
Denver, Colorado, June 22, 1956
Reported Cases:
McDermott v. San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent, 240 Fed. Appx. 865 (Fed. Cir. 2007), cert denied, 552 U.S. 1109 (2008); Bissoon-Dath v. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., 94 U.S.P.Q. 2s 1273 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 9, 2010).
Payment Information:
  • Credit cards accepted
  • Accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express
  • Free Initial Consultation
  • Fixed Hourly Rates
  • Fixed Fees Available

Peer Reviews

  • 5.0/5.0
  • A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

San Francisco, California

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