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What Does a Non-Profit Lawyer Do?

A non-profit attorney handles many of the same issues as a business lawyer, but focuses on the special issues that affect non-profit organizations. An attorney can help your non-profit if you're just starting up and need guidance on the paperwork that needs to be filed, when you file taxes, or when you need litigation.

How Do I Know If I Need a Non-Profit Lawyer?

Non-profit organizations have their own specialized forms and requirements to fulfill that business attorneys might not be familiar with. A non-profit lawyer can help you lay the proper foundation so that your organization can flourish.

Your non-profit lawyer can advise you on the right form of entity for your organization, depending on the activities and goals you plan to achieve. For instance, your charitable organization may be able to gain a tax-exempt status if you meet conditions set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and maintain specific documents. A political organization, private foundation, or religious organization has different legal and tax obligations.

Read more about different types of non-profits.

With the right lawyer, you can also get advice about the management for your non-profit - such as how to form a board of directors, how to appoint officers, and whether you can form an affiliation.

A non-profit lawyer can advise you what types of legal forms and documentation you need to maintain your non-profit status, and aid the education of directors, personnel, and other stakeholders so you can run your organization diligently.

How Much Does a Non-Profit Lawyer Cost?

Depending on what service you need, your lawyer may use different methods of billing. For simple tasks like document drafting or review, a non-profit attorney often charges a flat fee. For longer or more complex matters, your lawyer will likely charge an hourly rate. Rates will vary depending on your industry, the complexity of your case, and where your business is located. Be sure to negotiate a rate up front with your attorney.

What Should I Expect When Working with a Non-Profit Lawyer?

If you're planning your non-profit, a non-profit lawyer should be able to guide you to the ideal structure for your nascent non-profit. With legal help, you will probably good idea of how to qualify for a specific tax status. Your lawyer can give you information on the necessary paperwork, draft or review all these documents, and help you through the filing process.

If a lawyer is helping manage your organization or is helping with taxes, you should feel confident that you're following all the regulations and aren't in danger of penalties. A non-profit attorney is the best resource for figuring out any next steps you need to take to keep your organization running smoothly.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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