Stuart J. Lark

Member

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Phone: 719.448.4036

Fax: 719.635.4576

slark@shermanhoward.com

Areas Of Emphasis

Education

  • Juris Doctor, University of Chicago, 1996
  • Masters of Science, Stanford University, 1985
  • Bachelor of Science, Purdue University, 1984
    • with Distinction

For more than 20 years, Stuart Lark has focused on helping nonprofit clients navigate complex matters related to their distinct operational and legal challenges. 

Stuart advises nonprofits on legal structure, governance, operational and personnel policies, joint ventures and affiliations, commercial activities, unrelated trade or business income tax, intellectual property, international structure, tax-exempt financing, private foundation rules, planned giving, and mergers and acquisitions.  He has obtained many favorable IRS exemption rulings, as well as determinations granting state property and sales tax exemptions. Additionally, he counsels many clients with respect to religious accommodations in the law.  He has helped clients secure religious tax exemptions, faith-based employment or activity rights, government benefits, and religious worker visas. Stuart also regularly advises on church disputes and other religious exercise matters.

Experience

  • YMCA of the Rockies – Obtained religious property tax exemptions for camp properties.
  • Christian Care Ministry, Inc. (Medi-Share) – Advised on corporate, tax, religious exercise and other matters for health care sharing ministry.
  • Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability – Legal Counsel to the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations.
  • ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelicals – Creation of legal structures for new church denomination and new association of churches and pastors.

 

AMICUS BRIEFS FILED IN RELIGIOUS LIBERTY CASES

  • Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, United States Supreme Court (promoting a constitutional exemption from civil rights laws for employees exercising an organization’s religious beliefs) (representing Cherry Hills Christian Church, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, Mount Hermon Association, Point Loma Nazarene University, and others).
  • Woods v. Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, Washington State Supreme Court (preserving a statutory religious exemption from state employment law) (representing Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Christian Care Ministry (Medi-Share), Orchard Alliance, The Navigators, and others).
  • Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, United States Supreme Court (promoting a broad religious exemption from public accommodation laws) (representing Christian Care Ministry, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, Kanakuk Ministries, Tyndale House Publishers, Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and others).
  • Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, United States Supreme Court (supporting religious exercise protection) (representing Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Life, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse, Pine Cove, Biblical US, and others).
  • Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, United States Supreme Court (promoting hiring rights applied to ministers) (representing American Bible Society, Crista Ministries, The Navigators, Compassion International, The Christian and Missionary Alliance, New Tribes Mission, Moody Bible Institute and others).
  • Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, United States Supreme Court (promoting religious hiring rights) (representing Azusa Pacific University, World Vision, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and others).
  • Larue v. Douglas County School District, Colorado Supreme Court (supporting inclusion of religious schools in school voucher program) (representing Association of Christian Schools International, Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs and others).
  • Catholic Health Initiatives Colorado d/b/a Villa Pueblo Towers v. City of Pueblo, Colorado, et al., Colorado Supreme Court (promoting a broad religious tax exemption) (representing Young Life, The Catholic Foundation for the Roman Catholic Church in Northern Colorado, Focus on the Family, HCJB Global and others).
  • Colorado Christian University v. Raymond T. Baker, et al., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (challenge to discriminatory student aid program) (representing Catholic University of America, among others).
  • Spencer v.  World Vision, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (promoting a broad religious hiring exemption).
  • Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, United States Supreme Court (upholding a school voucher program).
  • Newdow v. U.S. Congress, United States Supreme Court (pledge of allegiance case).
  • U.S. v. Hardman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (free exercise right to possess eagle feathers).
  • Falwell v. Miller, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia (free exercise right for churches to incorporate).

Publications & Presentations

PUBLICATIONS

 

PRESENTATIONS

  • The Supreme Court Redefines Discrimination Law: Practical Responses for Religious Employers
    Webinar, ECFA | October 2020
  • Religious and Sexual Liberty
    Christian Legal Society, MissioNexus, Christian Leadership Alliance, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Association of Christian Schools International, Council on Educational Standards and Accountability, and many other conferences, board meetings and events | 2010 – 2018
  • Board Governance
    Rocky Mountain Nonprofit Conference, Parker, CO | 2015
  • All Things International
    23rd Annual Institute on Advising Nonprofit Organizations in Colorado, Denver, CO | 2014
  • Counseling and Representing Churches and Other Religious Organizations
    ABA Tax Section Conference, Boston, MA | 2012
  • Business as Missions
    Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Webinar; MissioNexus, Orlando, FL | 2009, 2011

Professional Activities

  • National Board of Directors, Christian Legal Society

Highlights

  • Best Lawyers in America, “Lawyer of the Year,” Nonprofit and Charities Law, Denver (2020)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Nonprofit and Charities Law, Denver (2013-2021)
  • Colorado Springs Style Magazine, “Top Attorney,” Constitutional Law (2018)