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Schnader attorneys counsel nonprofit organizations of every size, providing them with timely, cost-effective legal representation. Clients range from small local nonprofits to nationwide organizations, and cover a range of industries, from healthcare and medicine to education and the fine arts. We advise private foundations, philanthropic trusts, universities, and community-focused organizations, often serving as outside general counsel.

Our attorneys also serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations throughout the country. A few examples include: Arcade Comedy Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the Committee of Seventy (an election watchdog and good government group in Philadelphia); and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy in Washington, D.C.

Transactional Services

We guide nonprofit clients through all phases of founding and development, from inception through ongoing compliance and governance matters. Specific services include:

Entity Formation

We assist with the development of articles of formation, bylaws, and structuring the board of directors. We also guide clients through the application process for tax-exempt status.

Labor and Employment

We counsel clients on issues related to employment agreements, employee or contractor compensation, employee discipline and termination, discrimination, harassment, pay equity, disability accommodation, workplace privacy issues, and employee benefit programs. On behalf of religious organizations, we have obtained government rulings on the church plan status of many benefit arrangements.

Tax Issues

Our work in this area includes preparing and reviewing federal and state tax returns and assisting with tax reporting issues related to scholarships and fellowships. We also advise clients of proper conduct to remain tax-exempt.

Charitable Giving

We frequently structure scholarships and fellowships, as well as trusts and restricted gifts, on behalf of nonprofit organizations. Our lawyers are experienced in the preparation and review of planned giving vehicles such as charitable remainder trusts, Uni trusts, pooled income funds and charitable gift annuities. We also counsel nonprofits on state and national fundraising from various sources.

Intellectual Property Services

We assist nonprofit clients in software development and licensing transactions, copyright and trademark registration, Internet broadcasting and website regulation, cybersquatting, and related transactional matters and litigation.

Real Estate

Schnader has handled all manner of real estate issues faced by nonprofit organizations. We regularly negotiate construction and architectural contracts, financing documents, and advise on commercial leases and licenses. We have particular expertise assisting institutions of higher education with real estate acquisition, leasing, and development. Recently, we represented a liberal arts college with a mixed use campus project including a hotel, restaurant and book store. We have experience in student housing and related dining services as well as public / private loan and grant programs for construction.


We assist nonprofit clients with mergers and acquisitions, institutional reorganizations, liquidations, joint ventures and expansions with both nonprofit and for-profit components.


Our litigators have handled many kinds of disputes on the trial and appellate level. A few examples of nonprofit litigation representations include:

  • Represented the Barnes Foundation in its successful, multi-year effort to amend certain terms in the Foundation’s indenture and obtain court permission to relocate its galleries to downtown Philadelphia. The trial court permitted the change and the Supreme Court exercised its extraordinary jurisdiction to dismiss an objector’s appeal. In later proceedings, the Barnes Foundation successfully defended against several petitions by opponents of the change to reopen the decree.
  • Schnader represented the New Jersey Institute of Technology in a dispute with its alumni association. After obtaining a preliminary injunction permitting NJIT to disaffiliate from the alumni association, we tried the breach of contract and trademark case for 40 days over the course of three years. The trial court found in favor of our client in all regards, and the decision was upheld on appeal.
  • Represented a major health care provider in antitrust litigation with a large healthcare insurer and a competing health care provider.
  • Represented the Metropolitan Opera in a patent litigation and in a dispute regarding the proposed auction by a third party of the Met’s property.
  • On behalf of a national human services nonprofit, prevailed on summary judgment in a suit alleging religious discrimination.

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