My law practice is specially focused on representing and providing general counsel and mediation services to religious organizations and spiritual leaders.
My clients have included: Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi and other religious organizations. I have represented several notable eastern and western Spiritual Masters and an Incarnation of God. In some circles I have earned the name “The Guru Lawyer.”
I have vast range of legal experience in transactional matters, and mediation as well as in handling administrative, litigation and appellate matters. While I no longer represent clients in litigation per se I would be an invaluable consultant to any primary litigation team.
I am available to provide consultation and representation on a wide range of transactional matters, to provide general counsel services, to provide education, training, lectures, draft procedures and policies. I can provide appropriate oversight and advice that can prove a most valuable contribution to your organization and can help prevent many legal situations before they arise.
Specific legal areas that I have in the past assisted organizations, and you may wish to have me assist your organization, include the following (this list is by no means exhaustive):
Choice and Formation of Entities
Consulting and assisting spiritual organizations develop strategies, structures and corporate forms, including the use of subsidiaries, “group exemption” rulings, separate foundations and separate 501(d) religious organizations to maximize control and minimize exposure to tort and contract liabilities.
Corporate formalities and “Good Governance Practices”
Consulting and assisting directors and officers to: maintain accurate corporate records, comply with filing requirements and make appropriate decisions that comply with sound business judgment and are untainted by conflicts of interest.
Compliance with Federal, State
and Local Statutes and Regulations
Assisting directors, officers, staff and volunteers to comply with the complex regulatory and safety scheme that can apply to spiritual organizations and their officers and leaders including: tax issues impacting exempt status and the regulation of exempt organizations, employment/labor law issues, immigration issues, workers compensation issues that may apply to certain church volunteers, the reporting of allegation of child abuse, zoning, building, fire and safety codes issues.
Consulting and Assisting on Staffing Issues
Consulting and assisting leadership in legal issues involving the selection, education, supervision, discipline and termination of staff including: employees, independent contractors, or volunteers to avoid major potential claims and liabilities. For example: to assist the church leadership in the prevention of claims for negligence or reckless hiring, sexual harassment, staff misconduct, or wrongful termination.
- Reviewing and drafting of contracts
- Providing church leadership assistance with its contractual relationships, including contract negotiations
Assistance with Risk Management/
- Risk Management assessments and recommendations to minimize claims of injury from church programs, personal injury or damages to personal property
- Risk management to prevent damage to church property
- Drafting of any necessary releases and other risk limiting agreements
the Clergy Privilege and Reporting Abuse
Protection of confidential information and clergy or minister/penitent privilege, child abuse reporting obligations, penalties and liability for failures to report or for breaches of confidentiality.
Church Money and Property Use and Abuse Issues
Legal issues arising from or related to the solicitation and/or receipt of donations or loans to an organization, personal gifts to clergy, directors or staff, use of the spiritual organization’s funds or property for benefit of a director, officer, leader, staff, or volunteer. Assist organizational leadership in appropriately addressing the issues of reasonable and unreasonable compensation, excess benefits and the misuse of funds or property.
Mediation for Church, Clergy and Staff
Mediation services including assistance to mediate issues between clergy, staff, volunteers, congregants and possibly the public on a variety of issues that might arise in any organization operations or even spiritual conflicts among factions.