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Good Counsel. Meeting the Legal Needs of Nonprofits. Edition No. 1

  • ID: 2218313
  • Book
  • February 2012
  • 352 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
A concise overview of the legal needs of nonprofit organizations

Good Counsel is a compact and personable overview of the legal needs of nonprofits, crafted by one of America's most astute nonprofit general counsels. The book distills the legal needs of the 1.8 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States.Written in a clear and accessible style, with plenty of humor and storytelling as well as illustrative case studies, Good Counsel explains the basics of nonprofit corporate law, governance, and the tax exemption. It then takes a department-by-department look at legal topics relevant to program, fundraising, finance, communications, human resources, operations, contracts, government relations, and more. Good Counsel is designed help organizations fulfill their missions to do the public good.

Designed to impart confidence and demystify the issues, Good Counsel is a must-read for nonprofit professionals and board members as well as lawyers and law students. Using Good Counsel as their playbook, lawyers, executives, and trustees can get an overview of the most common legal, governance, and compliance issues facing their organization and together ramp up a top-notch legal function.

  • Contains practice pointers, checklists, and assessment tools
  • Features sample contracts, licenses, and other form documents
  • Filled with case studies and end-of-chapter focus questions, as well as available lesson plans for easy classroom use by educators in business, management, public policy, and law schools

Good Counsel is the first-of-its-kind guidebook written by the sitting General Counsel of a major nonprofit. Written by influential author, speaker, and Bar leader Lesley Rosenthal, the General Counsel of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Good Counsel shares the insights of a Harvard Law School graduate with years of in-house and business law experience as well as board service.

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction xix

Who Should Use This Book xx

Features of the Book xxi

How This Book Is Set Up xxii

Preliminary Observations xxiv

Illustrative Cases xxvii

Part I An Overview of Nonprofits’ Legal Needs

Chapter 1 What Good Counsel Can Do for Nonprofits 3

What Legal Needs Do Nonprofits Have in Common? 4

Beyond Laws about Nonprofits: Complying with Business Laws, Too 11

First Stop for Legal Advice: CYA (Consult Your Attorney) 12

In Sum/Coming Up Next 14

Chapter 2 Nonprofit Legal Basics: Corporate Law and the Requirements of the Tax Exemption 19

The Benefi ts of Incorporating 19

Getting Organized as a Nonprofit Corporation 22

Following Good Corporate Law Practices 24

Obtaining Recognition of Tax-Exempt Status 28

Maintaining Tax-Exempt Status 31

Meeting Additional IRS Expectations 34

Chapter 3 Good Counsel about Corporate Governance 47

What Does the Board Do? 47

Advocacy and Independent Judgment: Counsel in Relation to the Chief Executive 58

When Governance Fails: Learning by Negative Example 59

Part II A Grand Tour of Nonprofits’ Business Law Needs

Chapter 4 Contracts and Intellectual Property: Laws that Matter to Program Staff 67

Understanding the Organization’s Program 67

Contracts: At the Heart of the Program’s Legal Arrangements 68

What Is Intellectual Property (and What Does It Have to Do with Nonprofits?) 81

Copyright Law for Nonprofits: An Introduction 82

Chapter 5 Counseling the Rainmakers: Legal Aspects of Raising Money 93

A Lawyer’s Introduction to Fundraising 94

Laws That Matter to Fundraisers 99

Other Places Where Legal Meets Fundraising 112

Better Fundraising Through Good Governance and Compliance 117

Chapter 6 Laws That Matter to the Finance Department (or Not-for-Profit, but Not-for-Loss Either) 123

Understand the Big Financial Picture 124

A Year in the Life 132

Other Places Where Legal and Finance Meet 135

Chapter 7 Getting Personnel: Human Resources Law for Nonprofits 155

Human Dynamics, Nonprofi ts, and the Law 157

Key Legal Elements of Employment Relationships 159

Other Laws that Matter to Nonprofi t Human Resources Professionals 169

Chapter 8 Getting the Word Out, Legally: Counseling the Nonprofit Communications Team 185

Introduction to the Legal Aspects of Nonprofi t Communications 185

What Nonprofi t Marketing Directors Should Know about Trademark Law 186

Clearing Rights to Use the Protected Works of Others 199

Consumer Regulatory Laws 211

Getting the Word Out, Digitally 214

Other Places Where Legal Meets Communications 217

Chapter 9 Legal Meets Operations, Facilities Management, and Security 223

Laws That Matter to Operations 225

About Leases 233

Risk Management and the Chief Operating Officer 240

Chapter 10 Political Activities and Governmental Lobbying 243

Thou Shalt Not Politick 243

Lobbying: Advocacy with Limits 247

Recordkeeping, Registration, and Financial Disclosure 250

What Isn’t Lobbying? 251

Part III For Good Counsel Only

Chapter 11 Taking Charge of the Legal Function 257

Catalogue and Prioritize Legal Needs 258

The Softer Skills of Good Counsel 265

Chapter 12 Finding Your Dream Job as In-House Counsel at a Nonprofit 271

Where to Begin Searching for an In-House Job at a Nonprofit 271

How to Position Yourself to Win an In-House Job in a Nonprofit 272

Don’t Believe the Myths 282

Chapter 13 Mobilizing Other Legal Forces for the Good 287

Paid and Pro Bono Representations 288

A Broad-Gauge Role for the Legal Profession in the Nonprofit Sector 294

Notes 297

Index 311

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
Lesley Rosenthal
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown