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

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Who Represents Who

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Loeb & Loeb LLP has a ‘depth of experience and knowledge, which, combined with the high level of client service, makes it very competitive in this area’. Tax specialists Diara Holmes and Marcus Owens joined the firm’s Washington DC office in 2015 from Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered and are commended for their ‘responsiveness and “can-do” attitude’. The firm makes use of its trusts and estates, charitable giving and tax practices to provide a full service to its not-for-profit clients and has been assisting clients in a range of matters, from defending tax-exemption status against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to assisting with charitable giving, program-related investments (PRIs) and setting up for-profit subsidiaries. Recent highlights include advising Audrey Irmas on the gift and sale of a piece of art. New York-based lawyers Jason Lilien and Eliot Green are also recommended, as is Leah Bishop in Los Angeles. The firm strengthened its team via the acquisition of Preston Quesenberry to its Washington DC team as of counsel; Quesenberry brings a wealth of knowledge from his previous role as a senior attorney in the Tax Exempt and Government Entities division at the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.

The tax-exempt organizations (TEOs) practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, based in Washington DC, assists a number of large foundations across the gamut of operational matters. The team represents organizations such as colleges and universities, donor-advised funds, museums and cultural organizations and government instrumentalities. The team does a wide variety of work for its nonprofit clients; recent examples include advising a private foundation on PRIs and assisting another client with a wide range of tax compliance, policy and governance issues. Celia Roady heads the team and regularly advises private foundations and public charities on tax and operational issues, grants, investments, compliance and governance issues. Roady is supported by Alexander Reid, who is knowledgeable of tax policy, and Matthew Elkin.

New York-based Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP has one of the largest nonprofit practices in the US, with the ‘breadth and depth of experience to be advisers and not just technical lawyers’. Robin Krause is chair of the TEOs practice and is recommended for her expertise in grant-related issues; John Sare is ‘an expert in donor-related matters’ and is particularly active in the arts sector; his highlights included assisting a major institution with a $100m naming gift and advising museums with art collection gifts. Laura Butzel continues to advise charities on their internal investigations as well as at the federal and state level, and in the education sector has been advising university boards on governance, tax-exemption, student conduct and data issues. Butzel and Tomer Inbar continue to advise private foundations on program- and mission-related investments as well as a range of other corporate and tax issues. The ‘unfailingly responsive and creative’ Inbar has also recently assisted public charities and private foundations with environmental conservation projects in the US, Argentina and Chile, and advised on compliance with the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act. Other names worthy of note are Lisa Cleary, who focuses on litigation, and counsels Janine Shissler and Megan Bell.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

The team at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has the ‘highest quality of knowledge, experience and depth of contacts with charities, donors and regulators’ but also draws upon its ‘world-class colleagues’ for matters involving specialized topics. The team represents a range of not-for-profit clients, including private foundations, public charities, donors and higher education institutions, in matters regarding organization, tax and governance issues, auditing, endowments and charitable giving. Recent highlights include achieving a settlement with plaintiffs seeking to revoke Princeton University’s not-for-profit tax status in connection with the university’s property tax exemption. The team also represented Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in connection with a cash gift and a gift of more than 100 works of modern art to New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to establish MoMA’s Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America. The firm also represented Blackstone chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman in connection with his $150m gift to Yale University, the second-largest gift ever made to Yale. David Shevlin heads the practice and is supported by counsels Jennifer Franklin and Jennifer Reynoso.

The ‘excellent, timely and responsive’ team at Venable LLP has an extensive not-for-profit practice, advising large national charities, schools, foundations and other nonprofit organizations. A representative client of the firm’s ‘extensive and well-regarded association law practice’ is the Project Management Institute, which it has advised for over a decade on various matters, including the organization’s code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure compliance and manage legal risks including antitrust, defamation and due process. Andrew Price is singled out for his expertise in intellectual property and Melanie Jones Totman is ‘very helpful in the area of government grants and associated regulations’. George Constantine is another key name in the Washington DC office, while Robert Waldman is a key practitioner in Baltimore. Since publication, former practice head Jeffrey Tenenbaum has joined Washington DC-based boutique Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC.

San Francisco-based boutique Adler & Colvin has a vast client list from the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. Its practice encompasses all aspects of operation, including formation, tax-exemption status, governance issues, grant making, investment, revenue generation, charitable gift planning and international charitable transactions and operations. Robert Wexler is highly regarded for his corporate and tax practice for nonprofits and their donors, while Erik Dryburgh specializes in charitable gift planning and endowments. Senior counsel Gregory Colvin advises nonprofit organizations on their political and lobbying activities, fiscal sponsorship, donor-advised funds, anonymous giving and grant making as well as other issues arising between donors and charities. Other key partners include Rosemary Fei, Stephanie Petit, Nancy McGlamery and David Levitt.

Arent Fox LLP has an extensive nonprofit organizations practice, with a particular concentration of clients in Washington DC. Representative clients of the group, which is spread across New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC, include nonprofit hospitals and health systems such as MemorialCare Health System, Scripps Health, California Hospital Association, Community Memorial Hospital and Adventist Health. For Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the firm combined its knowledge of the not-for-profit space with its real estate expertise to advise on the sale of an office condo, a matter which involved novel tax issues surrounding not-for-profit law. For The Salvation Army, the firm has been handling employment work involving issues of harassment, wrongful termination, class actions and discrimination. The firm also represents a number of District of Columbia public charter schools in connection with their real estate needs. Richard Newman leads the practice and is supported by Sean Glynn and counsel Davis Sherman. Richard Krainin is a key name in New York.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP is a go-to firm for healthcare clients, advising nonprofit hospitals and other types of tax-exempt healthcare organizations on a variety of matters. Representative highlights included advising Ascension Health (the largest nonprofit health system in the US) on a transaction involving the sale of certain assets of Carondelet Health Network to a newly formed joint venture owned by various other healthcare entities. The firm also led on a matter for Prime Healthcare Foundation, closing a $200m financing transaction. For key New York client Maimonides Medical Center, the firm advised on a strategic affiliation and developing of outpatient networks with North Shore-LIJ - the largest health system in the State of New York. The nonprofit practice also represents numerous other tax-exempt clients, such as universities, trade and professional associations, religious organizations and foundations. Ira Rappeport and Gary Gertler are recommended in the Los Angeles office, with Michael Peregrine and Bernadette Broccolo the key names in Chicago.

The ‘cost conscious’ team at Proskauer Rose LLP acts for a variety of not-for-profit clients in the sports, healthcare and arts and entertainment sectors. Partners from the firm’s sports, media and entertainment department have been retained by the National Hockey League (NHL) in a complex dispute with the former owner of the Arizona Coyotes, Jerry Moyes, and the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ tax lawyer Amanda Nussbaum has been assisting the NHL in connection with the league’s expansion to Las Vegas. Nussbaum and corporate partner Jon Oram have also been serving as legal counsel and strategic adviser to the Los Angeles 2024 Exploratory Committee. In the healthcare space, Richard Zall has been assisting clients in matters including joint ventures, collaboration agreements and investment management. The firm’s dedicated ERISA litigation team represents nearly half the religious healthcare entities being sued in a wave of litigation by ‘church plan’ participants. The labor and employment team acts for a number of not-for-profit clients, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Jewish Committee. David Miller joined the tax team from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in 2016. All partners named are based in New York. In May 2017, Roger Cohen joined Goodwin.

Ropes & Gray LLP has a respected higher education practice but also represents research institutes, foundations, hospitals and academic medical centers on a range of matters associated with their NFP status. Key names in the group include Carolyn Ward, who is a member of the tax and benefits group in the Washington DC office, and tax partners Kendi Ozmon and Lorry Spitzer in the Boston office. Spitzer focuses on the taxation of nonprofit organizations, particularly colleges, universities and healthcare organizations.

The team at Steptoe & Johnson LLP has an excellent reputation and ‘represents a number of very highly regarded nonprofit organizations’. Suzanne McDowell co-chairs the practice and has recently served as chair of the ABA Tax Section’s Exempt Organizations Committee. She is commended for her ‘ability to analyze issues and develop practical solutions to real world problems’. The team represents public charities as well as private foundations, including private operating foundations, advocacy organizations and congressionally chartered organizations, across the full spectrum of legal matters, and has particular expertise in the science, media and healthcare sectors. Representative clients include the Battelle Memorial Institute, National Park Foundation, United Way Worldwide, United Healthcare Group and World Wildlife Fund. Recent additions to the team include Ruth Madrigal, who joined from the office of tax policy at the US Treasury Department, and Zvi Hahn, who joined from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. Catherine Wilkinson co-chairs the practice with McDowell and specializes in government investigations, IRS audits and voluntary disclosures. All named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Bryan Cave LLP has a diverse nonprofit and TEO practice representing foundations, museums, healthcare systems and higher educational institutions, but has a particular focus on religious organizations. The team is spread across the firm’s various national offices and advises clients on a variety of corporate and tax-related issues, including organizational matters, tax-exemption status, mergers, lobbying, IRS audits and investments. Recent work includes advising the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Center on the creation of a foundation to manage endowment funds of the Diocese and conducting an analysis of the governance, funding and operations of corporate entities for the Association of Baptists for World Evangelization. The firm also serves as outside general counsel to the George and Amal Clooney Foundation for Justice and is in the process of assisting the foundation to raise millions of dollars and negotiate the arrangements to provide education for young Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. Keith Kehrer heads the practice from St Louis.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP assists private foundations with all matters, including governance, regulatory matters, tax, real estate and litigation. The firm is national legal counsel to The Salvation Army and regularly advises the client on law, regulations and administrative directives applicable to faith-based organizations, as well as in administering its self-insured employee health plan. In the healthcare sector, the team has been retained by Burke Rehabilitation Hospital regarding its affiliation with Montefiore Health System (MHS), and has also been representing the Foundation and Research Institute, which was previously associated with Burke but remains independent from MHS. Key lawyer at the practice Paul Mourning also represents various pro bono NFP clients under the firm’s ‘incubator’ scheme. Stephanie Marcantonio was recently promoted to the partnership and focuses on corporate and financial transactions. Mourning and Marcantonio are both based in New York.

Specialist tax firm Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered has a dedicated practice for charities and other NFP organizations, with a client base made up of both small charities and large private foundations. Key names include Washington DC-based Douglas Varley and Mark Matthews for tax and William Klimon, who is recommended for his advice in NPF formation, dissolution and merger transactions.

The Washington DC-based political tax and tax-exempt organizations practice at Covington & Burling LLP has a long history of advising nonprofits on all aspects of their work. Clients include political organizations, sports leagues, trade associations, educational institutions, philanthropic and grant-making organizations, and museums. The firm also works for a number of pro bono clients, such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and various non-partisan research organizations and legislative advocacy groups supporting marriage equality. Key names include Robert Gage, Heather Haberl, Susan Leahy, Jeremy Spector and Stuart Irvin.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP represents a range of NFP clients across its offices in New York, Washington DC, Oregon, California and Alaska. The firm has comprehensive knowledge and expertise in matters including, but not limited to, tax, governance and compliance, investigations and litigation, charitable fundraising, M&A, and trusts and estates. Seattle-based LaVerne Woods heads the team and has over 25 years’ experience working in the nonprofit sector. Highlights for Woods included advising Fortune 500 companies and other business enterprises on corporate foundations and in-house corporate philanthropy programs, and handling an IRS controversy regarding tax-exemption qualification for a national vision service health plan. Other key names include Jean Tom and counsel JJ Harwayne Leitner, both based in New York.

The TEO practice at Farella Braun + Martel LLP is co-chaired by Barbara Murphy and Cynthia Rowland in San Francisco. The firm advises NFP organizations throughout their life cycles, as well as representing philanthropic individuals. Recent highlights include advising the Burning Man Project, an arts festival organization and international arts movement, on corporate structure, tax compliance and property acquisition matters. The firm has also advised a number of foundation clients on matters such as incorporation, investment and philanthropic planning.

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP has been advising funds, religious organizations, sports associations and foundations on a range of matters. The team is actively drafting a Pennsylvania statute related to provisions contained in the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, which brings the law governing charitable institutions in line with modern investment and expenditure practice. New York-based Cynthia Fischer and Philadelphia-based Joseph Lundy co-chair the nonprofit organizations practice.

The ‘responsive and timely’ team at Sidley Austin LLP has a ‘real breadth of knowledge, with the depth of the firm available when needed’. The team has been working for NFP clients in connection with IRS audits, charitable gifts and governance reform. One recent highlight includes representing the America Osteopathic Association (AOA) in class action litigation challenging the requirement of the AOA that, in order to be board-certified, an osteopathic physician must be an AOA member. The firm has also formulated grant-making guidelines and procedures to allow a group of affiliated family foundations and trusts to give around $1.5bn annually to charitable organizations. In Chicago, Michael Clark and Paul Svoboda lead the practice, and Jack Bierig and counsel Lynn Fleisher also highly recommended. The practice also has lawyers located in Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York.

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