Trusts and Estates associate Sasha Bass has been involved in many pro bono matters at Loeb, but her latest efforts have focused on a project helping to raise awareness about the plight of animals living in captivity, and support for conservation efforts to protect and preserve creatures close to extinction.
Sasha’s work advising the nonprofit Visions of the World, Inc., began with a casual conversation with Julian Starks, the nonprofit’s founder and a social acquaintance, about a photography book he was putting together.
The project started when Julian visited Tippi Hedren’s Shambala Preserve, a sanctuary for exotic big cats, and he was struck by the juxtaposition of the beauty of a lion living in a fairly confined, unnatural environment. After learning more about the importation and abandonment of exotic animals, he was inspired to travel to other sanctuaries across the country to capture evocative photographs illustrating the beauty of the animals and the struggles sanctuaries face in order to provide a good quality of life for wildlife in captivity.
He then began turning the photos into a book titled “Life Behind Bars, Vol. 1,” to be published through Visions of the World with the goal of raising support for sanctuaries, as well as awareness of irresponsible importation of animals. This is when Sasha got involved.
“It wasn’t a hard process once I had a clear picture of what Julian was looking to do and what the organization needed,” she said. “When I came on board, they were waiting for a response from the IRS regarding their tax-exemption determination, so I was able to jump in and help with that.”
Sasha also worked with the organization to determine who should hold the IP rights of the photos being used in the book and has been advising the organization as it enters into promotional and profit-sharing agreements with various charities. A partnership has been established with PETA to promote the book to its membership and on its website, with PETA receiving 10% of the net proceeds in return, and a similar agreement is in the works with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The project is currently in the final stages, and the organization hopes the book will be available for purchase in the next six months. Anyone interested in buying the book will be able to find it on Visions of the World’s website and will find a special acknowledgment thanking Loeb for its assistance.
“I’m really grateful to Loeb for having a pro bono practice in place and allowing me to use the firm’s resources to help Visions of the World,” Sasha said. “It’s a great experience to encounter someone working on a project they really believe in, and be able to step in to provide the legal assistance needed to get the project off the ground.”