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Marla K. Conley

Associate
T 215-751-2561
    Ms. Conley is co-chair of the Nonprofit Organizations Practice Group and a member of the Tax and Wealth Management Department at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP. She focuses her practice on philanthropy and tax-exempt organizations, representing donors, private foundations, public charities, and business leagues as well as organizations applying for tax-exempt status. She advises clients regarding corporate structure, governance, taxation, fundraising, including accepting complex gifts such as illiquid assets, as well as endowment and charitable trust management, grants, and charitable spending. She represents clients before the IRS, the Attorney General, and the Orphans' Court. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Ms. Conley has a strong interest in organizations serving youth and also serves as co-chair of the Firm's Child Advocates Practice Group, a group of attorneys providing pro bono services, through the Support Center for Child Advocates, to youth in the child welfare system. She worked previously for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland, the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law, and the Delaware Office of the Child Advocate. She serves on the Board of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania and as a member of the Wistar Institute's Leadership Council.

    AREAS OF EXPERIENCE

    Private Foundations and Donor Advised Funds
    • Regularly advises on application of potential excise taxes and relationships with donors.
    • Negotiates gifts of complex illiquid assets.
    • Terminated many private foundations, through either conversion into a supporting organization or distribution to operating charities.
    • Divided family foundations into several new entities, each tailored for the next generation's philanthropic interests.
    • Developed an expansion plan for foreign grant making activities.

    Direct Service Charities
    • Regularly handles corporate restructures, achieving best placement of endowments, real estate, and various back office direct service programs, for multiple large clients.
    • Regularly forms new nonprofit corporations, and advises on operations of single member LLCs, for particular high-risk programs or assets or to protect assets of high value.
    • Obtained approval, through an Orphans' Court Petition, for the affiliation of social service providers from different religious backgrounds.
    • Advised on insurance structure for high-risk activities.
    • Implemented new governance structures to minimize liability impact of the CUA (Community Umbrella Agency) role on other entities in the same charitable structure.

    Charitable Fundraising
    • Advises on fundraising at all levels.
    • Created multi-state Charitable Gift Annuity programs for clients expanding their planned giving portfolios, including providing federal and state tax analysis and strategic tax structure planning, handling fundraising registrations, and providing a portfolio of sample forms.
    • Negotiated complex corporate sponsorships, including for long-term relationships and shared benefits.
    • Advised on commerciality aspects of new activities.

    Charitable Fund Management
    • Regularly advises on investment policies for endowments and foundations.
    • Obtained immediate release, through an Orphans' Court Petition, of charitable funds to provide food to the hungry in North Philadelphia.
    • Obtained release of significant burdensome restrictions, on multiple charitable trusts, to allow construction of a new research facility.
    • Handled formation of charitable lead and remainder trusts under a variety of unique circumstances.
    • Handled the termination of multiple charitable remainder trusts, both pursuant to their terms and early by agreement.

    General Counsel Services
    • Provides general counsel and governance advice to charitable clients of all sizes and levels of complexity.
    • Conducts strategic planning sessions with charitable Boards of Directors or Trustees.
    • Handled numerous charitable mergers, divisions, dissolutions, and other corporate and trust restructures.
    • Advised on national affiliate structures involving member agencies in every state.
    • Guided Boards through approving compensation in thorny situations, including after discovery of theft and embezzlement.

    COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

    • The Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, Board of Directors, Member 
    • The Wistar Institute, Leadership Council, Member
    • Prevent Child Abuse, a program of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Advisory Board, Member, 2011-2013

    ATTORNEY SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

    08/19/2014
    08/12/2014
    06/10/2014
    05/29/2014
    04/03/2014
    02/19/2014
    01/28/2014
    10/21/2013
    09/25/2013
    07/11/2013
    05/22/2013
    05/02/2013
    11/27/2012
    10/26/2012
    10/17/2012
    09/20/2012
    08/23/2012
    06/14/2012
    06/04/2012
    05/23/2012
    03/08/2012
    02/28/2012
    10/24/2011
    10/14/2011
    09/22/2011
    04/08/2011
    03/21/2011
    03/05/2011
    03/02/2011
    10/26/2010
    10/06/2010
    05/20/2010
    12/18/2008
    12/18/2008
    12/18/2008
    10/27/2008

    Education

    • University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2008
    • Princeton University, A.B., Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, 2001

    Court Admissions

    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

    Bar Admissions

    • Pennsylvania, 2008

    Professional Affiliations

    • American Bar Association Tax Section, Member 
    • Philadelphia Bar Association, Member

    Other Distinctions

    • Recipient of the Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award, 2013
    • Recipient of the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Craig M. Perry Community Service Award, 2013
    • First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Pro Bono Roll of Honor, 2012-2013
    • Kenneth W. Gemmill Prize for the best paper in the field of taxation, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 2008
    • University of Pennsylvania Order of the Coif
    • Journal of Law and Social Change, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Editor in Chief
    • University of Pennsylvania Inns of Court