The Sherman & Howard Difference

Our firm serves virtually every type of nonprofit organization, including educational institutions, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, social welfare entities, private foundations and philanthropists, corporate foundations, healthcare organizations, and amateur sports organizations. Our lawyers possess a nuanced understanding of the legal issues and challenges specific to nonprofits. Just as important, we know their cultures and we understand their callings, their language, and their goals. Drawing on these insights, we help each of our nonprofit clients identify its distinct legal challenges and we craft solutions that incorporate available legal protections, ensure compliance with applicable laws, and facilitate the activities that nurture its character and accomplish its mission. Further, because we have been working with nonprofits for so many years, we have answers to many questions at our fingertips. This enables us to offer efficient and cost-effective service and well-informed advice.

Our Approach

Our team includes lawyers who work primarily with nonprofits and who focus on corporate, tax, constitutional, international, and common operations issues. The team also includes lawyers who practice in other areas of law and possess a clear understanding of how their areas uniquely apply to nonprofits. As a result, our team is able to provide sophisticated guidance on every aspect of a nonprofit’s operation, helping each organization navigate the distinct nonprofit legal landscape as it works toward accomplishing its mission.

Services

We advise clients in the corporate, tax, regulatory, governance, and religious liberty arenas, regularly assisting them with:

  • Entity selection, formation, and governance
  • Structure and relationships with affiliated organizations such as clubs, chapters, and local associations
  • Operations, contract, and transactional advice
  • Tax-exempt status issues, group exemptions, UBIT planning, and property tax exemptions
  • Employment law issues and volunteer liability
  • Employee benefits
  • Child protection policies and controversies
  • Constitutional law issues
  • International operations, transactions, and registrations
  • Intellectual property, including trademark, copyright, publishing, media, and licensing
  • Advertising and marketing/promotions
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Partnerships, joint ventures, cooperatives, and other strategic alliances
  • Reorganizations, dissolutions, and bankruptcy
  • Regulatory compliance and reporting issues
  • Fundraising
  • Current and deferred charitable giving
  • Government funding
  • Debt issues, finance, tax-exempt bond financing, and other loan transactions
  • Litigation and ADR
  • Real estate acquisitions, mortgages, leases, and environmental compliance
  • Data protection and privacy

Experience

  • Filed amicus briefs on behalf of more than 40 national religious organization clients before the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Advised a number of church denominational bodies and other church organizations on church property matters.
  • Successfully challenged numerous erroneous interpretations by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of various religious worker visa requirements and submitted extensive comments on behalf of a broad coalition of religious organizations regarding proposed regulations that would make it more difficult to obtain religious worker visas.
  • Advised on formation and organization of affiliations of community healthcare organizations to achieve economies of scale necessary to compete on a regional or national level.
  • Advised private nonprofit college in its acquisition of an art museum, with assets valued in excess of $100 million.
  • Headed internal investigation of a multibillion-dollar private foundation to review allegations of self-dealing.
  • Advised on sale of a nonprofit taxable automobile club with net assets of approximately $50 million.
  • Advised on sale of a community blood bank with approximately $50 million in annual revenues.
  • Shepherded sports entities through COVID-19 concerns unique to their programs.
  • Counseled sports organizations in substantial restructuring and governance changes to comply with USOPC and government mandates.
  • Successfully litigated substantial cases to protect our clients’ diverse proprietary interests.
  • Led the merger of two large nonprofit organizations, each with more than 1,000 employees and budgets exceeding $150 million.