Prof. David Neal
Under Prof. Neal's supervision, the eight students
in the CDL Clinic provided counsel to a wide range of nonprofit organizations. They assisted groups that work on women's empowerment and economic
development in Africa, the residential needs of adults with autism, supporting LGBTQ
youth, protecting critical wetland habitat, collecting and distributing food
donations to families in distress, advocating for children who have been
victims of sexual violence, and much more.
"Working with the CDL Clinic this
semester while Prof. Tom Kelley was teaching in South Africa was a real
privilege," Prof. Neal said. "It was a great reminder of all the different ways that small,
scrappy nonprofit organizations work to make their corner of the world a
better, more humane place."
CDL Clinic students assisted with
nonprofit formation, local property tax issues, regulatory compliance,
insurance, nonprofit mergers, and much more. This semester, they had a
combination of new nonprofits in the formation stage as well as older
nonprofits that wanted to review their organizational documents. This resulted
in a particular focus on drafting bylaws for several groups, a task that
involves navigating the North Carolina Nonprofit Corporations Act, Internal
Revenue Service guidelines for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, and best
practices for nonprofit governance. They were also aided with Dean Judith
Wegner's advice on drafting in plain English, advice too often overlooked when
it comes to documents like organizational bylaws.
"Even for those who do
not go into nonprofit law practice after law school, these experiences will
well-position the CDL Clinic students to provide valuable, pro bono assistance
to nonprofits in their communities following graduation," Prof. Neal explained.
Some highlights from the CDL Clinic's
work this fall include:
Providing counsel to an emerging effort that seeks to develop affordable, cooperative housing. The Clinic has provided research on a governance structure that will allow the nonprofit arm of this broader effort to be well positioned to receive federal community development grants. In the spring, we will continue to support this effort by helping the group apply for nonprofit status and providing counsel on compliance issues and structure.
Provided guidance on avoiding conflicts of interest in the use of real property
Performed extensive legal research and provided counsel to a social justice nonprofit on how to structure a tenant's rights organization in a way that provides representational standing for members who have to litigate (or threaten suit) to fix problems in apartment complexes serving low-income communities.
Researched legal, liability, compliance, and practical considerations for an organization's social media policy, with particular attention to privacy considerations for minors who participate in the nonprofit's activities.
Provided guidance on both the mechanics and the pros/cons of fiscal sponsorship.
Helped a local nonprofit that does extensive work in a country in Africa think through how it might restructure its operations to be compliant with IRS rules for overseas work and better achieve its programmatic objectives.
We are grateful to Prof. Neal for teaching in the CDL Clinic this semester!
Posted by Tamar R. Birckhead on Wed. December 16, 2015 3:33 PM
Community Development Law Clinic