Stuart J. Lark
Stuart J. Lark

Member

Phone: 719.448.4036

Fax: 719.635.4576

slark@shermanhoward.com

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Legal Secretary

Rachel Schipper
719.448.4029

Areas of Emphasis

Religious Organizations

Nonprofit & Tax-Exempt Organizations

Education

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

For over 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.

Representative Matters
  • 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

  • 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)
Professional Activities
  • National Board of Directors, Christian Legal Society

 

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • Colorado State Court
Honors and Awards
  • Best Lawyers in America, “Lawyer of the Year,” Nonprofit and Charities Law, Denver, CO (2020)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Nonprofit and Charities Law (2013-2020)
  • Colorado Springs Style Magazine, “Top Attorney,” Constitutional Law (2018)
Publications and Presentations

Recent Publications

  • Accommodations for Religious Organizations
    A Guide for Colorado Nonprofit Organizations, CLE of Colorado, Inc.
    2016
  • Generating Income Beyond Donations?  Beware Lurking Tax Consequences
    Law Week Colorado
    2013
  • Using the First Amendment to Support Religious Worker Applications
    Immigration Options for Religious Workers, An AILA Occupational Guidebook
    2010
  • Equal Treatment for Religious Expression After Colorado Christian University v. Weaver
    Engage
    February 2009
  • Commercial Ministry Ventures Should be Structured and Managed Carefully
    The Christian Lawyer
    Spring 2008

 

Recent Presentations

  • 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