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Helping Good People Do Good Things:

A brief introduction to the Law Firm For Non-Profits®

Legal Services

The Law Firm for Non-Profits provides a full range of legal services for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits are governed by four bodies of law that are unique to them, in addition to laws that regulate all enterprises. We are skilled in navigating the nuances of tax-exemption, nonprofit corporation law, board member liability, and revenue generation. Please visit the pages below to learn more:

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your nonprofit thrive.

Our Main areas of Service

For more than two decades, The Law Firm for Non-Profits’ Quick Launch Service has helped over 1,000 nonprofits get up and running quickly, smoothly, economically, and legally. We are highly experienced and successful in state entity formations as well as federal and state tax exempt filings.

If you desire/plan/hope to start and operate a nonprofit, you must remember that:

  • Simply incorporating as a nonprofit corporation is not enough;
  • Most nonprofit corporations must apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS);
  • Most nonprofit corporations must comply with state registration requirements to hold, solicit, and receive charitable donations; and
  • After formation, you will need to know how to stay in good standing and ensure future legal compliance.

Our Quick Launch Service includes everything you’ll need to lay the legal groundwork for your organization. You pay one fee for a comprehensive package to ensure your organization is set-up to operate as a legal, tax-exempt entity for the long-term. Our Quick Launch Service is simple, fast and effective.

As your trusted advisors, we’ll establish your legal foundation so that you can focus on building your nonprofit into the successful organization you know it can be.

Based in California, The Law Firm for Non-Profits serves nonprofits across the U.S. and overseas. If you are starting a nonprofit, you owe it to yourself, your board of directors and your organization to do it right with our Quick Launch Service.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your nonprofit thrive.

A nonprofit’s board members (e.g., its directors, trustees, elders, etc.) are legally responsible for everything the nonprofit does. State and federal laws controls how boards govern and set high standards for board member conduct. While failure to satisfy these legal standards (i.e., board members’ “fiduciary duties”) can result in personal liability to directors and other significant penalties. the law also provides protections for board members who act in an ethical and accountable manner.

At The Law Firm for Non-Profits, we strive to support board members in ensuring they always act in compliance with their fiduciary duties. We train them and give them the tools to excel. Among those tools are a nonprofit’s bylaws. Great bylaws help educate board members about their duties and serve as an instruction manual for board conduct. We have helped thousands of nonprofits understand and improve their bylaws.

We support and guide boards and their members in the full range of their legal duties and accountability issues, including:

  • Understanding and complying with board member duty and liability;
  • Addressing, as appropriate, potential self-dealing, conflicts of interest and nonprofit insider transactions;
  • Updating and revising bylaws;
  • Proper board procedures such as elections, notices of meetings and the preparation of meeting minutes;
  • Establishing and complying with best practices;
  • Implementing a full range of board and corporate policies and procedures;
  • Addressing complaints filed against a board or individual directors;
  • Meeting legally mandated public disclosure requirements; and
  • Handling and resolving board disputes.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your nonprofit thrive.

While revenue-generating activities that result in earned income (as opposed to donated income) are often critical sources of support, nonprofits must comply with complex IRS regulations to avoid income tax on activities that may be deemed an “unrelated trade or business.” If such unrelated activities are substantial in nature, a nonprofit jeopardizes its tax-exempt status. We have extensive experience helping nonprofits implement, scale, and sustain earned income initiatives in ways that avoid or minimize taxable income.

We support and guide nonprofits to ensure compliance in a wide range of revenue-generating areas, including:

  • Exploiting intellectual property rights.
  • Generating royalty, rental, and program income.
  • Establishing for-profit subsidiaries.
  • Soliciting donations through auctions, raffles, sweepstakes, and gaming events such as  “casino nights.”
  • Participating in public private partnerships or joint ventures.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your nonprofit thrive.

We help our clients collaborate to scale and enhance services, outreach, and impact through strategic partnerships that foster judicious growth.

Many opportunities for nonprofits develop “organically” – that is, they arise naturally as the organization grows and achieves successes. These opportunities may take the form of new services, a social enterprise, or joint ventures with either nonprofit or for-profit organizations. Each requires compliance with multiple tax, corporation and charity laws. At The Law Firm for Non-Profits, we provide our clients with compliance guidance every step of the way.

We provide counsel regarding transactions regulated by the IRS and states’ Attorneys General, including:

  • Consideration and approval of executive compensation arrangements and transactions with board members (all of which are deemed unlawful if not approval per statutory requirements);
  • Mergers (whether with nonprofits or for-profits);
  • Sales of assets;
  • Conversions of for-profits to nonprofits;
  • Establishment of for-profit subsidiaries;
  • Legally compliant joint ventures with for-profit businesses;
  • Corporate sponsorships;
  • Donor-advised funds;
  • Commercial co-ventures;
  • Fiscal sponsorships; and
  • Arranging and developing strategic alliances.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your nonprofit thrive.

Private foundations (both operating and non-operating) must comply with a broad set of laws and regulations governing almost every aspect of their operations, including grantmaking. With our expert knowledge of these myriad rules, we provide guidance that positions our clients to make informed, prudent decisions so they can realize their objectives while avoiding violations of self-dealing, taxable expenditures, qualifying distributions, jeopardizing investments, and related regulations.

We support and advise private foundations in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Grantmaking policies and procedures, both domestic and international. 
  • Programming for private operating foundations.
  • Grantmaking to entities that are not public charities.
  • Program-related investments.
  • Excise penalties.
  • Lobbying.
  • Gift acceptance.
  • Scholarships, prizes, fellowships, and grants to individuals.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your nonprofit thrive.

The scariest thing a nonprofit will ever face is an IRS or Attorney General audit. This can often be avoided with good counsel, guiding nonprofit boards and executives in complying with the law. The Law Firm for Non-Profits helps clients wade through the varied landscape of laws affecting nonprofits and implement compliant practices.

Put simply, we work with nonprofits to help them model best practices and ensure compliance. In the rare case that your organization is audited by a state or federal regulator, we remove the fear of an investigation and get the work done. We have successfully handled dozens of audits and other regulatory investigations over the last three decades.

We support and guide nonprofits in a wide range of regulatory matters overseen by the IRS and states’ Attorneys General, including:

  • Audits;
  • Reviews of tax returns;
  • Dissolutions and insolvencies;
  • Property tax exemptions;
  • Charitable solicitation and fundraising registrations across the U.S.;
  • Meeting public support tests;
  • Corporate sponsorships; and
  • Permissible lobbying activity and political activity.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your nonprofit thrive.

U.S. nonprofit organizations that engage in grantmaking or program delivery outside the country must comply with additional laws imposed by Congress and the IRS, as well as laws of the countries in which they operate.

We have extensive experience with private foundations and other nonprofits that make grants overseas and engage in cross-border work. From “simple” grantmaking involving non-U.S. entities, to standing up overseas programming, we can provide advice to ensure  your international activities are compliant.

We support and guide non-profits in a wide range of international areas, including:

  • Federal requirements for grantmaking to overseas organizations.
  • Fundraising and grantmaking by “Friends of” organizations that support foreign nonprofits.
  • Expenditure responsibility and foreign equivalency requirements for foundations making grants to foreign charities.
  • Risk management for U.S. charities operating overseas.
  • Compliance with U.S. Treasury Department anti-terrorism guidelines.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help your nonprofit thrive.