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Workshop Descriptions

Below is an alphabetical list of currently scheduled and frequently recurring workshops.

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Strategic Legal Thinking Seminar: Helping Nonprofits Understand, Negotiate and Live with Contracts: What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know
May 16, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 3:30 PM
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Lawyers Alliance is pleased to offer this seminar in conjunction with Pfizer Inc, DLA Piper LLP (US), and the National Network of Business Law Pro Bono Providers.

Nonprofits enter into contracts every day. Contracts come in many forms and formats. Our seminar seeks to demystify the terminology, myths and realities of contracts.

The first portion, presented by a pro bono corporate and transactional lawyer from a major global law firm, will review the basics of the terms of a contract and the purposes they serve. It will help you understand what your organization commits to when it when it signs a contract, the contract negotiation process, and when seeking legal advice is prudent. It also will review when and how to try to renegotiate or terminate a contract and the possible consequences to your organization.

Then the seminar will focus on certain types of contracts that nonprofits commonly enter into as part of their ongoing operations. Nonprofit lawyers from a leading business law pro bono organization will discuss collaborations, service subcontracts, management services contracts, and vendor agreements. They also will review some issues relating to donor grant agreements,such as agreements with private foundations, as well as volunteer agreements. The program aims to help your organization clarify the parties' relationship, identify and meet contract commitments, and manage your organization's risk in and through these agreements. This seminar will not cover government contracting or employment agreements.

Click here for the full brochure and agenda.


To register for the in-person NYC location, please send an email to with your name, organization, and full contact.

You must register no later than May 10, 2017.

Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Commercial Co-Ventures and Corporate Sponsorship: The Nonprofit Perspective
May 17, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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This webinar focuses on the legal and practical issues encountered by nonprofits as they consider engaging supporters and raising funds through two particular arrangements: (1) "corporate sponsorship" - where the commercial party makes contributions of cash and/or in-kind and receives specified limited benefits in return, and (2) "commercial co-venture" - where the commercial party advertises to the public that purchase/use of specific products/services will result in a specific financial contribution to the identified nonprofit. Both types of arrangement are specifically defined for tax and other legal purposes. We will review the frameworks, guidelines and best practices.

Learning objective: Participants will identify significant issues to address in planning for fundraising through sponsorships and commercial co-ventures.

For nonprofit executives, managers, development professionals, and others involved in nonprofit fundraising.

Presenter: Neil Stevenson, Senior Staff Attorney

Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Crowdfunding by Nonprofits: What Nonprofits Should Know When Using Online Fundraising Platforms
May 31, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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This webinar focuses on the legal and practical issues relating to nonprofits as they consider engaging supporters or raising funds using an online platform, specifically "reward"/"donation" crowdfunding campaigns. It will also very briefly touch on possible use by a nonprofit of "investment" crowdfunding options. Ethany Uttech will describe how ioby, a crowd-resourcing platform that connects leaders with funding and support, operates and works with nonprofits. Participants will learn about some of the different approaches taken by other online platforms, some of the factors to consider in choosing among platforms, and some of the principal legal (and business) considerations, including, "peer-to-peer" campaign elements, charitable solicitation compliance, consumer protections, and tax treatment.

Note: This webinar will not go into detail about the wide variety of online fundraising campaign designs. It will focus more on the relationships between the nonprofit campaign sponsor and the use of an online platform provider.

Learning Objectives: Participants will identify significant issues to address in fundraising through online platforms.

For nonprofit executives, managers, development professionals, and others involved in nonprofit fundraising.

Presenters: Neil Stevenson, Senior Staff Attorney and Ethany Uttech, Leader Action Strategist and Partnership Manager at ioby

Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Developing a Charter School Discipline Policy
May 23, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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Charter schools are required to have discipline policies to establish guidelines for proper conduct in schools and to create fair and impartial procedures to address inappropriate conduct and implement disciplinary action. This webinar will provide an overview of the federal and state laws that apply to charter school discipline policies, including due process rights for students and families, discipline procedures for students with disabilities and compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), bullying, and the use of social media on and off school grounds.

Learning objective: Participants will be able to develop a new discipline policy, or revise an existing policy, that complies with federal and state law and safeguards students' rights while ensuring an ideal educational environment.

For charter school board members, school leaders, parents, and others involved in charter school management and operations.

Presenter: Nicole Cuttino, Senior Staff Attorney

Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Making the Most of Election Season: Civic Engagement and Nonpartisan Advocacy within the Rules
June 7, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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With the 2017 election season quickly approaching, nonprofit organizations need to consider how they can help educate and mobilize their communities without jeopardizing their tax exempt status. While 501(c)(3) organizations cannot participate in election season in a partisan manner, they can run voter registration and get out the vote campaigns, hold candidate forums, and produce voter guides, so long as they do so in a nonpartisan manner. This webinar will explain how to do all of that and more. It will also provide advice on how to respond when a candidate asks to use an organization's space or mailing lists, or invites himself to appear at an organization's event.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to identify activities that could be considered partisan within the meaning of state and federal law so as to develop effective advocacy programs that are legally compliant.

For nonprofit managers and advocates.

Presenter: Laura Abel, Senior Policy Counsel

Becoming a Nonprofit: Incorporation and Tax Exemption
June 21, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
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Getting a new nonprofit organization off to the right start can mean the difference between success and failure. This workshop will go step-by-step through the process of incorporating in New York State and applying for federal tax exempt status. Attention will be given to the benefits and obligations of incorporation and tax-exempt status including reporting requirements, the role of board members, and the limitations on lobbying and political activities.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to evaluate the decision to form a nonprofit corporation and apply for federal tax exemption based upon an understanding of state and federal law.

For those interested in forming a nonprofit organization in New York.

Presenter: Mary Burner, Staff Attorney

Compensating Nonprofit Executives: State Law, IRS Rules, and Best Practices
May 24, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
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Paying excessive management salaries or paying more than fair market value for goods or services provided by insiders is wasteful and can result in enforcement actions against the organization and the responsible individuals. This workshop will provide legal and practical information for nonprofit organizations that seek to set reasonable compensation for executive directors and other senior managers, enter into legitimate transactions with Board members and other insiders, and comply with the conflict of interest and related reporting requirements on federal Form 990.

Learning objective: Participants will be able to establish procedures for setting reasonable compensation for executive staff and manage conflict of interest transactions consistent with state and federal law.

For senior managers, human resources professionals, and Board members.

Presenter: Sean Delany, Executive Director

Managing Nonprofit Risk: The Legal Angle
May 10, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
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Board members and managers of nonprofit organizations must take risks every day in order to achieve their charitable missions. While risk may be unavoidable, good leadership means evaluating and managing both opportunities and risks in a way that facilitates effectiveness, efficiency, and the long term health of the organization. This workshop will focus on how to use management tools, contracts, insurance, and legal protections to help your organization manage risk, and will cover the legal risks involved in governance, contracting, operations, personnel management, and financial management.

Learning objective: Participants will understand the basic legal risk management protections that all organizations should consider availing themselves of, and will be better positioned to evaluate, manage, and protect against legal risks.

For Board members and senior management.

Presenter: Elizabeth Perez, Legal Director

Trademark and Copyright Law Basics for Nonprofits
May 8, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
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Lawyers Alliance for New York, in conjunction with volunteer attorneys from National Football League, is offering an educational workshop to help community based and other nonprofits understand basic intellectual property law issues related to copyrights, trademarks and social media. Are other organizations using names and designs similar to yours? What is your organization doing to protect its program literature, training guides, or other written materials? Do your organization's website and social media practices take into account legal issues related to copyrights and trademarks? What do terms such as "registration," "license" and "fair use" mean for nonprofits? Learn more at these and other legal and practical issues at this upcoming workshop.

Learning objective: Participants will be better able to identify relevant intellectual property law issues, available resources, and when to seek additional help.

Suggested attendees: Senior staff and Board members from nonprofit organizations.

Presenters: Annie Pell, Dolores DiBella and Vicki Loughery, National Football League

Moderator: Elizabeth Guggenheimer, Lawyers Alliance

Special fee: $20/person (instead of $40/person); Free for NYF Grantees