Lawyers Alliance for New York
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  Do you have questions about the new Nonprofit Revitalilzation Act? Read our FAQs.
Accountability

Lawyers Alliance helps nonprofits to achieve high levels of productivity and effectiveness and to demonstrate accountability to government regulators, philanthropic supporters, clients, and the public. Our Nonprofit Accountability Initiative cuts across our five program priorities and applies to our full range of nonprofit clients.

Our legal representation services, educational programs, and Resource Call Hotline address three core legal areas of accountability: Sound Board Governance, Transparency in Financial Reporting, and Proper Personnel Management.

 
 
 

Sound Board Governance - Nonprofit governance and organizational structures should provide checks and balances that maintain the necessary levels of stewardship and accountability by directors and officers. To help nonprofits meet these standards, our services include review and preparation of certificates of incorporation, by-laws, conflicts of interest policies, and other organizational documents.

The board of directors of a social service provider decided to update the agency's by-laws and strengthen its governance practices after receiving a negative rating from the Better Business Bureau. Our attorneys advised the board on fulfilling its fiduciary obligations and amended the agency's by-laws to update the committee structures.

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Transparency in Financial Reporting - Nonprofits publicly demonstrate their accountability through publicly available financial reports. Our services help them to understand their legal obligations and to present financial information accurately to both regulators and the public.

In its first 10 years of operation, a housing organization had annual revenues under $10,000. In its 11th year, it received a three-year $75,000 grant. Unaware that it was now required to file a Form 990, the board of directors failed to do so. When the IRS assessed them with several thousand dollars in penalties, our attorneys successfully negotiated a waiver of these fines.

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Proper Personnel Management - Sound personnel practices are important if nonprofits are to manage their employees fairly and comply with local, state and federal laws. Our services include preparing personnel policies and volunteer manuals, advice on employee classification and wage and hour laws, and counsel on other employment law matters. We help nonprofits to understand their legal obligations as employers and to manage their human resources with reduced risk of liability.

An after-school program incorrectly classified all of its instructors as independent contractors. Improperly classifying an employee as an independent contractor can expose a nonprofit and its directors to liability for failure to pay withholding taxes. Our attorneys examined the organization's relationships with each instructor and determined which instructors should be re-classified as staff.

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