Comprehensive Guidance for Nonprofit Organizations.
Deep Knowledge, Collaborative Style
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is known for its comprehensive approach in handling issues specific to organizations in the nonprofit sector. We work with nonprofit organizations at all stages, from entity formation to changes in tax status or dissolution. Our Nonprofit Organizations Group comprises lawyers from the firm's Tax, ERISA/Employee Benefits, Corporate Finance, Labor and Employment, Health Care, Real Estate and Government Relations groups who work together to provide multidimensional solutions for nonprofit clients.
We also provide industry-specific guidance to our nonprofit clients. From health care to energy, Buchanan's strength in understanding the nuances of particular market sectors combined with its breadth of knowledge in the full range of legal disciplines makes us the firm of choice for nonprofit organizations in our region.
Litigation Counsel for Nonprofits
Named a "Go-To Litigation Law Firm" in 2012 by American Lawyer Media
, Buchanan litigators are aggressive, accomplished trial attorneys who have firsthand experience representing nonprofits in court. We have successfully handled high-stakes litigation, major class actions, mass tort and other complex litigation in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies and arbitral tribunals.
Our breadth of litigation counsel for nonprofit clients ranges from class action to intellectual property and reaches almost every industry. Our group represents clients ranging from small community organizations to multibillion-dollar systems. Examples of our experience for nonprofit litigation clients include:
- Playing a lead role in representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in litigation with the tobacco industry, resulting in an $11.2 billion settlement in favor of the commonwealth.
- Representing the governing board of a nonprofit corporation with respect to relationships between a major university and its law school.
- Obtaining summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida for a multi-state Catholic hospital system on putative class action claims alleging price gouging in its affiliated hospital’s pricing of health care services to the uninsured.
- Defending the Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania against a lawsuit challenging the process used to certify electronic voting systems in Pennsylvania.
- Defending a hospital system against an antitrust claim brought under Sherman Act § 1 alleging a conspiracy to depress salaries of registered nurses in the New York area.
- Advising nonprofits on internal, criminal grand jury and agency investigations by the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Postal Service and Inspectors General.
- Representing the Resolution Trust Corporation's Professional Liability Section, as well as its Inspector General, in various courts as outside counsel.
- Representing the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands in government contract matters relating to FEMA, construction litigation, receivership litigation and environmental litigation, as well as counsel related to its part of the landmark $205 billion settlement with the tobacco industry.
- Representing a global, nonprofit organization of investment professionals, CFA Institute, in trademark litigation (Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India v. CFA Institute) that resulted in obtaining summary judgment for our client.
We provide counsel in a wide variety of governance areas to nonprofit boards of directors and specific committees, executive officers, donors and more. Our team works directly with nonprofit entities on matters that include board structure, fiduciary duty and related litigation disputes, compliance, policies and procedures, investigations and conflicts resolution. We advise many clients on corporate responsibility principles and matters related to transparency, disclosure and board oversight of financial matters.
Government Relations and Public Policy
Buchanan's leading government relations practice is not only annually ranked among Washington's top lobby shops by Influence Magazine
; it was also the highest–rated practice in Pennsylvania for government relations by The Best Lawyers in America 2012
. By combining our knowledge of how government works with our understanding of client issues and concerns, we have built a reputation for achieving positive outcomes for our clients and reasonable public policy choices for decision makers. We have provided government relations and public policy counsel to a broad spectrum of nonprofit entities, such as hospitals and health care organizations, medical research institutes, educational institutions, religious organizations, private foundations, public charities, local economic development groups, museums, government entities, low-income housing organizations, trade associations and business leagues, social welfare organizations, profit-sharing and other retirement plans, special purpose organizations, donor funds and cemetery associations.
In addition to establishing tax-exempt status for nonprofits, we regularly advise our clients on tax-exempt financing, restructuring and the use of for-profit subsidiaries. Our team includes members with experience at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice and the United States Tax Court. Our lawyers have participated in the development of federal tax legislation, Treasury regulations and IRS administrative rulings. We handle matters involving IRS audits, excise taxes, intermediate sanctions, reporting obligations, charitable giving and political and lobbying issues. Working closely with our ERISA/Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation groups, we also help our clients design compensation arrangements, employment agreements and succession plans. The group has been at the forefront of reshaping the health care industry through the consolidation of for-profit and nonprofit entities, both regionally and nationally.
The Firm counsels executives of tax-exempt organizations and trade associations on a variety of matters, including board review of compensation, board members’ degree of independence, proper reporting of compensation and benefits on IRS Form 990 and eligible and ineligible Code §457 arrangements. In addition, the Firm drafts and reviews rabbi trusts and secular trusts to fund executive compensation benefits.
Buchanan assists nonprofits with sophisticated real estate tax exemption matters in order to make certain their charitable, educational, social and religious missions are reflected in their real estate tax burdens. Buchanan has extensive experience handling real estate tax exemption applications, appeals and negotiation of Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreements on behalf of universities, health care providers, religious institutions and other nonprofits.
From public schools, universities and hospitals to stadiums, airports, bridges and water authority projects, Buchanan represents issuers of all sizes, as well as financial institutions and underwriters who support the projects. We have served as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, letter of credit counsel, borrower's counsel, issuer's counsel and trustee's counsel in hundreds of transactions. We are known for our innovative work and are dedicated to advising clients on tax-exempt and taxable bond issues, including governmental bonds, private activity bonds, general obligation issues, revenue bonds, 501(c)(3) bonds, economic development bonds, tax increment financings, tax-exempt certificates of participation and tax credit bonds.
With the #1 health care practice in region as ranked by The Best Lawyers in America 2012
, Buchanan is the leading legal services provider to nonprofit health care organizations, including academic medical centers, teaching hospitals and universities. Our decades of experience in the health care industry, combined with our focused knowledge of issues unique to nonprofit organizations, provides a service level few other firms can match.
Energy and Utility
Our Energy and Utility Law Practice was founded by the former Chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, who oversaw the implementation of the Commonwealth's Electric and Natural Gas restructuring legislation, and is currently led by a former Commissioner who served on the Pennsylvania Commission from February 2002 through February 2010. The Firm has experience litigating complex utility-related issues before state public utility commissions and appellate courts. In addition, our attorneys have experience in the structuring of innovative public and private sector energy service programs and have considerable knowledge in performance-based demand side management and energy services contracting, procurement and financing. Our attorneys have represented energy service companies and public bodies in competitive and negotiated public sector energy contracts involving schools, hospitals and correctional facilities, as well as county and municipal facilities. By understanding issues from legal, legislative, regulatory and business viewpoints, our team is able to provide our clients with dynamic approaches to improve and expand their operations.
Public Charities and Corporate Foundations
We work with a variety of public charities and corporate foundations providing counsel on tax compliance, including lobbying restrictions and private foundation rules. We form, administer and dissolve public charities (including religious organizations) and private foundations, as well as draft resolutions and amendments and advise on compliance and governance issues. We also structure program-related investments by private foundations into traditional for-profits and hybrid business entities, including low-profit limited liability companies (L3Cs).