Business Law

Business Law News 2018, ISSUE 3

Representing Nonprofits (i.e., the Good Guys)1

Lisa A. Runquist

Lisa A. Runquist has represented nonprofits for over 40 years. She has authored numerous publications on nonprofits including authoring and editing Guide to Representing Religious Organizations, 2009 and authoring The ABC’s of Nonprofits, 2nd edition, 2015 which is also now available in Spanish. She is a member and former chair of the ABA BLS Nonprofit Organizations Committee and the California Bar Nonprofit Organizations Committee, serves as an Editorial Advisor for, and is an adjunct professor of law at Trinity Law School.

When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I represent people who wear the white hats—the good guys. I can say this because I have found that most people who work with nonprofits do so with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a large gap between these intentions and the end result. Often this is because of a lack of knowledge or a lack of understanding of what is actually required to comply with the law in organizing and operating a nonprofit organization. You may well already be involved with such an organization—for example, you might be involved with your church or synagogue, the school your children attend, your local sports league, museum, local soup kitchen, or scouting organization. In fact, you might already be a volunteer for the organization or serving on the board. Or you may have wanted to give the organization some legal advice but realized that you really know nothing about nonprofits. Hopefully, this article will give you an impetus to get going!

Formation, Organization, Filings

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