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  1. Not-for-profit (nonprofit and tax exempt organizations)
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  3. Leading lawyers
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Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Loeb & Loeb LLP’s nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations (TEOs) practice handles a broad spectrum of not-for-profit matters, including program-related investments (PRIs), corporate governance, fundraising, mergers, charitable giving, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits and investigations, public financing and tax compliance. The team is also recommended for its experience in assisting clients with setting up for-profit subsidiaries. The practice is co-chaired by Washington DC-based Diara Holmes and New York-based Jason Lilien. Holmes and Marcus Owens, who is also based in Washington DC, are well known for their expertise in tax matters. Names to note also include New York-based Eliot Green and Los Angeles-based Leah Bishop. In August 2017, of counsel Preston Quesenberry left to join KPMG as managing director in the firm’s exempt organizations tax group.

From its base in Washington DC, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s TEOs practice has an established track record in acting for a number of large foundations across the spectrum of not-for-profit matters. The team handles work for organizations such as trade associations, colleges and universities, government instrumentalities, donor-advised funds and museums and cultural organizations. The group assists its nonprofit clients with a wide variety of work, such as formation of tax-exempt entities, compliance, governance, IRS audits and PRIs. In a recent highlight, the team is advising the Strada Education Network on tax compliance, corporate structuring, governance and investment-related issues; Celia Roady, who heads up the practice and is well known for assisting public charities and private foundations, is leading on this matter. Other key names are Matthew Elkin, who assists NFPs with transactional matters, and Alexander Reid, who is recommended for his advice on tax policy. Of counsel Kimberly Eney is also recommended.

Excellent’ firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP houses one of the largest nonprofit practices in the US from its office in New York. The group has the ‘highest degrees of expertise and knowledge of the industry’. Chair of the TEOs practice Robin Krause has notable expertise in grant-related issues and program-related investment matters. The ‘business-mindedJohn Sare is able to ‘break the most complex problems down and provide workable advice’, and he has considerable experience in matters involving charitable giving and endowments, particularly within the arts sector; his recent workload includes advising artist-endowed/focused private foundations on art loans and art sales, as well as compliance matters. Laura Butzel is ‘excellent in the private foundation space’, advising entities on obtaining private foundation status and on program- and mission-related investments, alongside a range of other corporate and tax issues, and she continues to advise charities on internal, federal and state investigations. Butzel also has experience in the education sector, handling a workload involving advising university boards on tax-exemption, governance, data privacy and student conduct issues. The ‘business-minded and eloquentTomer Inbar continues to advise public charities and private foundations on environmental conservation projects in the US, Argentina and Chile, and has been handling joint ventures and mergers for nonprofit entities. Other names to note in the practice are Lisa Cleary, who handles litigation as well as providing ‘pragmatic and credible employment law advice’, Megan Bell, who was made up to partner in December 2017, and counsel Janine Shissler.

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The exempt organizations practice at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acts for a broad spectrum of clients, including cultural institutions, higher education institutions, public charities and donors, with private foundations acting as cornerstone clients for the team. The workload includes endowments, mergers, charitable giving, tax and governance issues, investments, auditing and organization. Recent highlights include representing the Lung Cancer Research Foundation in its successful merger with Free to Breathe, assisting the Stephen A. Schwarzman Education Foundation with a $500m endowment to support the Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua University, and acting for Barry Diller and the Diller Von Furstenberg Family Foundation in the formation of a charitable entity for the purpose of renovating a dilapidated pier on Manhattan’s West Side as a 2.7 acre public park and performance space. In addition, the foundation will give a cash gift of over $100m towards construction costs. The team also assisted Charles and Valerie Diker with a gift of 91 works of Native American art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in addition to the 20 works of Native American art already gifted to the museum by the client. David Shevlin heads up the practice from New York and is supported by counsels Jennifer Franklin and Jennifer Reynoso.

In the words of one client, Steptoe & Johnson LLP is ‘one of the leading firms in the nonprofit field’. The group’s wide-ranging client base includes public charities, private foundations, congressionally chartered organizations and advocacy organizations. The team’s workload covers the full spectrum of legal matters, and it is noted for its expertise in the science, media and healthcare sectors. Co-chair of the practice Suzanne McDowell has ‘many years of diverse experience in the field and has excellent judgment in advising clients on challenging issues’; she is leading the team advising the Wounded Warrior Project on corporate governance and tax issues. ‘Fine lawyer’ Ruth Madrigal is ‘an asset to the firm’s nonprofit practice’. Madrigal brings a wealth of knowledge from her previous role as attorney and policy adviser in the office of tax policy at the US Treasury Department, where she handled tax matters relating to NFPs and tax-exempt organizations. Recent work highlights for the team include advising the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and its subsidiary AIP Publishing on compliance with the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act, and assisting South African medical research organization the Aurum Institute with establishing a similar facility in the US. Other clients include the American Astronomical Society, Pact, Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) and the Battelle Memorial Institute. Catherine Wilkinson, a specialist in voluntary disclosures, government investigations and IRS audits, co-chairs the practice with McDowell. All named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Venable LLP houses an extensive not-for-profit practice; the client base includes large national charities, foundations, cultural institutions, hospitals, schools and other nonprofit organizations. The team advises NFPs on governance, tax-exemption status, litigation, compliance, intellectual property matters, antitrust, real estate, joint ventures and mergers, among other matters. George Constantine, who is based in the Washington DC office, and Robert Waldman, who is based in Baltimore, co-lead the practice. Washington DC-based Andrew Price has notable expertise in handling matters involving intellectual property issues. In 2017 Cynthia Lewin, formerly the executive vice president of and general counsel to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), joined the firm’s Washington DC office, and Jeffrey Tenenbaum moved to Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC. In January 2018 Melanie Jones Totman joined computer technology corporation Oracle as senior corporate counsel.

San Francisco-based boutique Adler & Colvin’s practice covers the gamut of not-for-profit operational matters, including formation, tax-exemption status, revenue generation, mergers, grant making, governance issues, charitable gift planning and tax treatment of lobbying and other political activities. Clients come from the whole spectrum of the nonprofit and philanthropic sector; the roster includes, among other well-known names, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, the Women’s Foundation of California, the Hewlett Foundation and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Robert Wexler is well known for assisting nonprofits and their donors with corporate and tax matters, with a particular focus on private foundations and social enterprises. Erik Dryburgh has expertise in charitable gift planning and endowments, while senior counsel Gregory Colvin’s experience includes fiscal sponsorship, donor-advised funds and advising nonprofit organizations on their political and lobbying activities. Other key names include Rosemary Fei, Stephanie Petit, Nancy McGlamery and David Levitt.

With offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC, Arent Fox LLP has a wide-ranging nonprofit organizations practice, with a large number of clients located in Washington DC. The team advises nonprofit hospitals and health systems, public charities, public charter schools, religious entities and media organizations on tax and regulatory matters. The firm’s client base includes The Salvation Army, Adventist Health, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). A notable area of expertise for the group is assisting NFPs with financing and real estate issues: for National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the firm combined its not-for-profit and real estate knowledge to represent NIB in the financing and purchase of a site on which to develop the entity’s new headquarters building. The firm also acts as outside benefits counsel to the AARP. Key names in the Washington DC office are practice head Richard Newman, Sean Glynn, and counsel Davis Sherman. Richard Krainin is the name to note in New York.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s ‘very responsive’ team represents a range of not-for-profit clients, particularly in the healthcare, higher education, sports, and arts and entertainment sectors. Richard Zall and other partners in the healthcare team act for clients in matters including joint ventures, fundraising and charitable trusts. The roster includes Hospital for Special Surgery, Clinton Health Access Initiative and Northwell Health. In the sports space, ‘practical and creative’ tax lawyer Amanda Nussbaum and corporate partner Jon Oram are serving as legal counsel and strategic adviser to the Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee following the city’s successful bid to host the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The firm also handles work for the Big East Conference and Pac-12 Conference. The labor and employment team acts for a number of not-for-profit clients in the arts, media and cultural industries, as well as handling matters including discrimination and unionization for higher education institutions. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP’s nonprofit and TEO practice is noted for representing religious organizations as well as healthcare systems, foundations, sports organizations, museums and medical research organizations, and has seen a recent uptick in mandates involving charities. The group operates out of the firm’s various national offices and handles corporate and tax-related matters for clients, including IRS audits, lobbying, mergers and tax-exemption status. The team is well known for serving as outside general counsel to the George and Amal Clooney Foundation for Justice and is assisting the foundation with the Trial Watch Project, an initiative focused on targeting and monitoring trials around the world which pose a risk of human rights violations. In another highlight, the team is advising on the formation of the Refugee Home Project, a charitable organization with the purpose of raising funds in the United States to assist with the refugee crisis in Greece. St Louis-based Keith Kehrer heads up the practice.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has a strong reputation for handling a wide range of NFP matters for private foundations, including, but not limited to, governance, tax and M&A mandates, and has notable strength in assisting clients in the healthcare sector. The firm acts as national legal counsel to key client The Salvation Army, assisting the organization with its Eastern Territory’s $400m financing program. The group is also representing Metropolitan Jewish Health System (MJHS) in an affiliation with the Isabella Geriatric Center, a not-for-profit provider of residential and community-based services. New York-based Paul Mourning is the key name; he acts for a diverse range of pro bono NFP organizations as part of the firm’s ‘incubator’ program. Stephanie Marcantonio, who is also based in the New York office, specializes in handling financial and corporate transactions for healthcare and tax-exempt entities.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP advises a broad spectrum of NFP clients from its offices in New York, Washington DC, Oregon, California, Washington state and Alaska, including social welfare organizations, universities, healthcare systems, cultural institutions and charitable trusts. The firm is noted for its expertise and solid track record in handling matters involving commercial co-ventures, M&A, charitable assets, governance and compliance, trusts and estates, tax and investigations, and litigation, to name but a few. With over 25 years’ experience in the non-profit sector, Seattle-based LaVerne Woods is chair of the TEO practice. Woods’ workload includes assisting ‘friends of’ organizations with developing grant-making strategies for supporting foreign charities. San Francisco-based Jean Tom and counsel JJ Harwayne Leitner, who is based in New York, are notable practitioners.

Based in San Francisco, Farella Braun + Martel LLP’s TEO practice is co-chaired by Barbara Murphy and Cynthia Rowland. The group represents philanthropic individuals, assists NFP organizations throughout their life cycle, and advises public and private foundations on charitable and philanthropic planning, tax, investment and corporate matters, among other areas. The team is in the process of advising the Walt Disney Family Foundation and Walt Disney Family Museum on museum structure alongside tax and regulatory compliance matters, and is assisting Pacific Animal Initiatives and Peninsula Humane Society with corporate structure matters regarding a project for related domestic animal welfare and wildlife centers in California and Hawaii. Senior associate Courtney Therien is also recommended.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s key strength lies in its healthcare practice. The group advises nonprofit hospitals, health maintenance organizations and home health agencies, among other tax-exempt healthcare organizations, on areas including tax, sale of assets and corporate matters. The firm is assisting Children’s Hospital of Orange County with tax matters relating to joint venture transactions with other healthcare entities. The nonprofit practice also represents other tax-exempt clients, including universities, trade and professional associations, religious organizations and foundations. The team is advising the PGA Tour (the organization representing professional tournament golfers) on tax matters and on a potential strategic investment. Names to note include Ira Rappeport, Gary Gertler and Erika Mayshar in the Los Angeles office, and Michael Peregrine and Bernadette Broccolo in Chicago.

Ropes & Gray LLP has a notable track record in assisting academic medical centers, research institutes, hospitals, foundations and universities with a broad spectrum of matters relating to their tax-exempt status. Names to note include Washington DC-based counsel Carolyn Ward, who is a member of the tax and benefits group, and Boston-based tax partner Kendi Ozmon. Lorry Spitzer retired in December 2017.

The team at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP provides ‘prompt, effective and sound legal advice’ to foundations, charities and healthcare organizations. The group advises the Public Interest Registry, an entity established for registering the .ORG, .NGO and .ONG domain names, on tax matters, as well as assisting the Barnes Foundation with trust and estate matters. Counsel Joseph Lundy, ‘a giant in this field’, leads the practice from the Philadelphia office.

The nonprofit practice at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP assists a wide range of not-for-profit clients, including sports, healthcare, religious, media, entertainment and cultural organizations. The group advises NFP organizations through their life cycles and also acts for pro bono clients, such as LGBT media advocacy organization GLAAD and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Los Angeles-based David Ulich heads up the team. Recent highlights for Ulich include assisting Sidewinder Media, a subsidiary of tax-exempt entity the Foundation for Global Sports Development, with creating Munich ’72 and Beyond, a documentary focusing on the assassination of members of the Israeli Olympic team at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Jay Gerzog is recommended in the New York office.

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