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Published On: Fri, Apr 19th, 2019

Tips on Finding the Best San Diego Nonprofit Attorney

Non-profit organizations are unique and have their own specialized requirements and standard forms to fulfill in which the business lawyers might not be familiar with. If you are running a charitable and religious organization or private foundation with some legal issues, then you might need to hire a San Diego nonprofit attorney. This non-profit lawyer can provide legal advise and help you to secure the right legal forms and documentation that are necessary to resolve the issues. A typical nonprofit lawyer is also capable of assisting in setting up or expanding a nonprofit organization such as how to form board of directors, how to appoint officers and in case of merging nonprofit entities. But finding the right lawyer is not an easy task, so in this article, we will share our tips and best practices on hiring the best San Diego nonprofit attorney.

gavel court scales justice ruling

photo via Pixabay user Succo

How to Find the Best San Diego Nonprofit Attorney?

The best nonprofit attorney who can efficiently help you with legal issues cannot be found by simply looking at the online phone book or directory and reading or watching an advertisement. Although, these resources will help you to list down potential nonprofit lawyers, but this does not have enough information to make a decision to hire. Below are some ways to look for the right nonprofit attorney:

  1. Personal referral.There is no better approach other than talking to people in your community who have experienced the same issue you are facing. Ask around who are their lawyers and what they think about them. Remember that different people would have different responses depending on their experience. This is just a good start to get leads. Decide only after you meet the lawyer properly and if you are feeling comfortable working with him or her.
  2. Referral Sources. In addition to the approach above, try also to find referral services such as follows:
  3. Lawyer Referral Services – This is another way of finding the best lawyers wherein you will gain access to a list of lawyers in good standing, good qualification and reputation carefully screened by the service provider. Be careful not to engage with services not approved by state bar association.
  4. Nonprofit Organizations – Consult with local or regional nonprofit associations and check who are the lawyers engaged by other nonprofit organization the same as yours.
  5. Law Schools – Try also to check local law schools in San Diego and see if they have an alumnus who is a highly reputable San Diego nonprofit attorney.
  6. Online Sources – Try other online sources such as online directory where you can search for lawyers by state and practice. There are also websites that offer a way to connect with local lawyers based on your location. They will match it with the type of case or legal concerns you have.
  7. Personal Meetings. In order to properly assess the nonprofit attorney, it is recommended to meet the lawyer personally and initiate discussion or some sort of free consultation and see if you are feeling comfortable with him or her. This is the opportunity to ask about his or her experiences around the nonprofit organization’s legal requirements and issues. Also, don’t hesitate to ask about their professional fees as this is also a big factor when deciding who to hire. Lastly, bring along a friend so you can get an opinion from others of what they think about the lawyer. Here are some questions you may want to ask when meeting a San Diego nonprofit attorney.
  8. Have you handled this type of legal concern? You can state the specific legal concern why you are hiring a nonprofit lawyer. If he or she said yes, ask follow-up questions to further assess whether the lawyer knows the subject matter.
  9. What will be the fees and expenses be? Don’t hesitate to ask this question because you will need to know exactly how much he or she charges for a nonprofit organization.
  10. Have you ever been accused of lawyer misconduct? As a client, you need to ask this question to your potential lawyer. Even if this information can be found on the internet like the website of state’s legal licensing authority or any other online sources, it is still best to hear directly from the lawyer itself and let him or her explain the circumstance and the outcome of the ethical violation, if any.

Depending on the type of concern you have, you will surely find the right lawyer if you consider the tips enumerated above. In choosing the best San Diego nonprofit attorney, it is important to always match the attorney’s expertise and experience with your concern. For example, if you have a problem dealing with the formation and administration of nonprofit corporations and entities then look for a nonprofit attorney who has extensive experience in nonprofit corporate law like Ortega Business Law.

Why Ortega Business Law?

One of Ortega Business Law Firm’s expertise is nonprofit corporate law providing legal advise on the feasibility of setting up and structuring nonprofit corporations and entities. The firm’s services include but not limited to the following:

  • Preparing or Reviewing IRS form 1023 and/or form 1024
  • Preparing or Reviewing Franchise Tax Board Form 3500
  • Preparing or Reviewing Bylaws for the organization
  • Preparation of other Nonprofit Filings Including 501(c ) (4), 501 (c)(6), etc.
  • Reinstatement of Revoked 501 (c) (3) and 501(c)(4) status
  • Formation of the Nonprofit Profit Business Entity, including:

o   Articles of Incorporation

o   Bylaws

o   Organization/Board Policies

o   Board of Directors Resolutions

o   Conflicts of Interest Policies and Code of Ethics

The firm also assists a nonprofit organization with issues involving a merger such as negotiations, preparing needed legal documents, agreements, board counseling and other reporting requirements. They are also adept in board and staff training for a nonprofit organization as well as corporate compliance review. This is helpful especially for the board of directors and members who are busy volunteering and no time to review its corporate by laws and internal policies making sure they are compliant with all the regulatory requirements. 

Author: Lucy Hale

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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