Mecklenburg County Bar

 

Pro Bono Services for Nonprofits

The aim of the MCB's Pro Bono for Nonprofits program is to provide pro bono legal assistance to charitable organizations by assigning attorneys to serve specific business law needs of those organizations. Through this program, business lawyers volunteer to address issues of corporate organization and governance, tax-exemption and contracting and to close real estate, financing, acquisition and other routine business transactions for charitable organizations.

 

 

Eligibility Criteria

 

To be eligible for volunteer legal services, an organization must meet the following criteria:

 

1. The organization's decision making process must have significant community grassroots involvement;

 

2. The organization must be working to provide housing, economic opportunities, social services, educational improvement, ownership of land, or cultural preservation to low-income populations or communities; and

 

3. The organization must be unable to pay for legal services, or demonstrate that such payment would substantially negatively impact its charitable work.

 

To request legal assistance, an organization must complete a Request for Business Law Services and submit the completed form to Director of Lawyer Volunteer & Community Services at the Mecklenburg County Bar, 1123 S. Church St., Ste. 103, Charlotte, NC 28203. The purpose of the Request is to give our volunteer lawyers the basic information needed to provide legal assistance.  Request for Business Law Services


 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How long will it take before a lawyer is assigned to help my organization?

Once the MCB receives a completed Request from an eligible organization, the goal is to have a volunteer lawyer assigned within two to four weeks. If the matter is urgent and requires more immediate response, the organization should indicate special timing needs on the Request.

 

What kind of legal work is outside the scope of the MCB's Pro Bono for Nonprofits program?

The program does not recruit volunteer lawyers to handle litigation matters of any kind. The scope of the program includes the work that a corporate or tax lawyer would typically handle.

 

Once a lawyer volunteers to work with an organization, will that lawyer handle all business law matters for the organization?

MCB will try to find a volunteer lawyer to handle a specific legal matter and does not generally ask a lawyer to commit to provide on-going legal representation. However, once a lawyer and an organization begin working together, they can decide to expand the representation if they wish.

 

Will the organization have to pay any fees?

The legal work provided by the volunteer lawyer on the specific legal matter for which he or she is engaged will be done on a pro bono basis. However, if your organization is seeking 501(c)3 designation, there are filing fees which must be paid by the organization.  As of July 1, 2013, the filing fees range from $400 - $850 and are subject to change.  Please refer to www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1023.pdf for more details. 

 

The organization will not be charged legal fees for the work of the lawyer, although the lawyer may require payment of expenses like copying, courier, telephone and similar charges. The MCB encourages volunteer lawyer and their clients in the Pro Bono for Nonprofits program to sign an engagement letter outlining the billing arrangements.

 

Can an organization request volunteer legal services if the organization has engaged another lawyer in the past?

The Pro Bono for Nonprofits program generally seeks to serve charities that do not have pre-existing relationships with lawyers. However, if an organization has an unusual legal issue or matter involving expertise that the organizations existing lawyer does not have, the organization may be eligible for the Pro Bono for Nonprofits program.

 

If an organization has submitted a previous Request to the Pro Bono for Nonprofits program, can the organization submit subsequent Requests?

Yes.

 

If my organization does not have a specific and immediate legal matter, but simply wants to have access to a lawyer when needed, can the Pro Bono for Nonprofits program help?

Probably not. It can be very difficult to recruit a volunteer lawyer to provide general legal assistance. The lawyer would be concerned whether future legal issues are within his or her area of expertise. The lawyer would also be concerned about the ability to respond in a timely manner to a future request for legal assistance because of uncertainty about his or her own schedule.

 

If my organization wants a lawyer to serve on our board of directors, can the Pro Bono for Nonprofits program help?

The program does not recruit volunteer attorneys to sit on an organization's board.  However, once a lawyer begins working with an organization he or she can decide to expand the relationship if they wish.

 

Is the Pro Bono for Nonprofits program limited to charitable organizations serving Mecklenburg County?

At the present time, the program is not limited to charities serving Mecklenburg County, although some preference will be given to charities that serve, at least in part, a community service or development role in Mecklenburg County.

 

If my organization is unable to compile the information required in the Request for Business Law Services, what should I do?

Please call the MCB Program Assistant at 704/375-8624 ext.129 who can provide assistance by answering your questions or putting you in contact with a lawyer who can answer questions about completing the request.

 

 

 
 
Friday April 18, 2014


 
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Upcoming MCB Events
 

5-2-14 Come Rap With Us -Alternative Options for Legal Practice
Free networking event and lunch to connect informally with peers and discuss the steps and things to consider when making a big career change. Register by 4/28/14.

5-8-14 Law Day Luncheon
Mary C. Curtis, award-winning multimedia journalist, will provide the keynote address. The MCB will present the Liberty Bell Award and winner of the Charlotte Observer's Law Day essay contest.

5-8-14 MCB YLD Spring Social
Join MCB YLD members for drinks and appetizers at the NoDa Brewery Crawl. Free for MCB YLD members; $10 for Non-Members

 

Mecklenburg County Bar

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