San Francisco Non-Profit Lawyers
Why Hire a Nonprofit Lawyer?
Starting a nonprofit is arduous work, which easily drowns you in complicated paperwork. A nonprofit lawyer, however, can help save you from the stress and hassle of filling out all those documents to make your nonprofit organization a reality. Nonprofit attorneys in San Francisco, California, can help you in numerous ways.
- Incorporation. Nonprofit attorneys specialize in incorporating your charitable organization, church, ministry, school, or title holding company.
- Counsel. Your nonprofit lawyer will advise you on matters related to tax issues, unrelated business income, ministerial housing allowance, and pastor compensation. He or she will also counsel you on personnel and employment issues, including drafting and reviewing applications, employment manuals, and policies.
- Contracts. The right lawyer will draft, review, and negotiate contracts related to your nonprofit, including purchase agreements, construction agreements, employment contracts, and loan agreements.
- Registration. Your lawyer will help you register your nonprofit's state and federal trademarks. He or she will even apply for federal income tax exemptions on your behalf.
- Document Preparation. A nonprofit attorney is well-versed in preparing amendments, bylaws, mergers, fictitious names, certificates of qualification, and other necessary documents required for nonprofits.
Nonprofit attorneys handle many of the same issues as business lawyers, but they specialize in issues specifically affecting nonprofit organizations. Religious organizations, political organizations, and private foundations have different tax and legal obligations than regular businesses.
Your organization will need to meet conditions stipulated in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. A nonprofit lawyer understands these requirements and can maintain the necessary documents required to keep your nonprofit flourishing.
Hiring a nonprofit attorney in San Francisco provides you with the counsel you need to build and maintain your organization. Not only can a nonprofit lawyer advise you on documentation and legal forms, but he or she can also assist in educating personnel, directors, and stakeholders, helping you run the nonprofit more diligently.
Your nonprofit lawyer will free you from the burden of researching extensive tax information and legal documents, helping ensure your nonprofit forms are filled out correctly in a timely manner. Otherwise, you could face costly mistakes when trying to go it alone.
How to Find the Best Nonprofit Lawyer in San Francisco
With so many nonprofit attorneys practicing in San Francisco, how can you be sure you're hiring the right one for the job? Begin by looking for a lawyer who is a member of The Bar Association of San Francisco, The State Bar of California, and/or the American Bar Association. It's essential that you hire a lawyer who is licensed to work in the area. Navigating to the websites of these bar associations will allow you to look up attorneys or request a referral.
You can also find lawyers via respected online directories, such as Martindale-Hubbell.
Finding a lawyer dedicated to nonprofit law can be difficult. Asking other nonprofit executives about their lawyer and the resources they used to find attorneys is a good place to start. You may also want to check with local law firms to see if any of them do pro bono work for certain types of nonprofit organizations.
Use an Online Service
Many sites, including UpCounsel, allow you to browse attorneys or even post your job. At UpCounsel, posting your job is free and confidential. You'll attract qualified nonprofit lawyers on demand, making your search easier than ever.
Look Beyond Your Board
In many cases, nonprofits have attorneys on their board of directors. If this is the case with your nonprofit, you should look outside your board to find an attorney to advise the board of directors and represent the nonprofit. Conflicts of interest can arise when relying on a lawyer sitting on the board.
Meet With Multiple Attorneys
Even if you find the perfect lawyer the first time around, it's a good idea to meet with additional attorneys, especially if they offer free consultations. Inquire about each lawyer's fees, whether or not the firm requires a retainer, and what types of services are offered.
You should also bring another person, such as a board member, with you to each meeting to get another opinion about the attorney. Ideally, this should be someone involved in the nonprofit, such as a board member or co-founder.
Questions for a Nonprofit Lawyer
- How much experience do you have representing nonprofit organizations? Is nonprofit law your specialty?
- What types of nonprofits have you worked with?
- How many nonprofit cases or clients have you handled?
- What is your retainer fee agreement?
- Do you foresee increasing your estimate? What can I do to help control fees or costs?
- Do you have any conflicts of interest that would disqualify you from representing my nonprofit organization?
- Have you ever been accused of or sanctioned for attorney misconduct? If so, why? And what was the outcome?
Whether you're planning to start a nonprofit or you're looking for a new attorney to represent your organization, a San Francisco lawyer can help.
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Legal Services Offered by Our On-Demand San Francisco Non-Profit Attorneys
On UpCounsel, you can find and connect with top-rated San Francisco non-profit attorneys & lawyers that provide a range of non-profit law services for startup non-profits to more seasoned non-profits around the city of San Francisco. Any of the top-rated San Francisco non-profit lawyers you connect with will be available to help with a variety of your non-profit legal needs on-demand or on an ongoing basis.
From the forming of a non-profit organization to obtaining tax-exempt status from the IRS, to complying with federal and state laws governing fundraising and operations, the advice of experienced San Francisco non-profit attorney is crucial throughout each stage of your non-profit’s growth. Whether you are forming a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4), you can easily hire an experienced San Francisco non-profit lawyer on UpCounsel for your on-demand or ongoing non-profit legal needs today.
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