The Ivie Law Firm counsels nonprofits, religious associations and churches on a broad range of issues such as formation, registration, organization, governance, operations, compliance, bylaws and policies, tax-exemption, charitable solicitations, resource development, grant writing, employment and personnel, volunteers, contract negotiation, drafting and review, property rights and publicity.
As an ordained pastor, our founding attorney dealt with the challenges that faced the churches he served – balancing all the different needs and priorities. Further, he understands the limited resources that are available to nonprofits and churches and the need to use these resources wisely.
However, it is unwise for nonprofits and churches to view any expenditure for legal services as a waste of the funds with which they are entrusted. Too often, nonprofits and churches act without legal counsel or settle for the advice of a less expensive professional—an accountant, perhaps. Even when the need for a lawyer is acknowledged, some seek free advice from an attorney who serves on the organization’s board or is a member.
This strategy can create problems. The specific fiduciary duties of a board member may not be consistent with the rules of professional conduct for lawyers. Further, strained relations will develop if the volunteer lawyer has to make difficult compromises or otherwise fails to meet the expectations of the other members of the organization.
Nonprofits and churches are coming under increased scrutiny. Society may have once esteemed nonprofits and charitable organizations because of the perceived good they contributed. Today, nonprofits and churches are deemed legitimate targets of litigation. Further, their resources are increasingly attractive to governments that face revenue shortages.
That is particularly unfortunate given the unique priorities of these organizations. While for-profit companies place priority on earning money for shareholders, nonprofits often seek to promote the health and welfare of society or a particular community within society.
Nonprofits and churches are unique. They require specialized legal care from an attorney who understands the unique legal, financial and ethical challenges that they face. Contact the Ivie Law Firm today to discuss the legal needs of your organization.