Legal Needs Assessment Program

LegalCORPS offers a Nonprofit Legal Needs Assessment service for Minnesota nonprofit organizations. In this program, teams of LegalCORPS volunteer attorneys and paralegals will help nonprofit organizations determine what steps they might need to take to ensure they are on sound legal footing in governance and operations.

The assessments use a LegalCORPS-developed “toolkit” that provides a checklist of legal topics to discuss and documents to review. LegalCORPS charges no fee to participants in this program.

The LegalCORPS Nonprofit Legal Assessment (NPLNA) services are available to Minnesota nonprofit organizations that are incorporated and have received or filed for 501(c)3 tax-exempt status under the IRS Code. (Religious organizations must be qualified for tax-exempt status if they have not sought it from the IRS.)

The NPLNA is not designed to be an exhaustive legal analysis. Its focus is on spotting issues of concern for the nonprofit, areas that require immediate attention, and areas that may require additional follow up.

This phased approach provides for one or more meetings between a nonprofit and volunteer attorney, who also might have the assistance of a volunteer paralegal. The volunteer attorney will request a variety of documents from the nonprofit. The volunteer attorney will review the documents over a month or more and then provide nonprofit with observations and recommendations and discuss them at a follow-up meeting.

If additional legal work is recommended, those services must be separately arranged with one or more legal or financial professionals – possibly through LegalCORPS for pro bono assistance.

Among NPLNA checklist topics are:

  • Human resources, including employment and benefits
  • Contracts relating to leases, buying buildings, signing state and county contracts
  • Articles and bylaws; mergers and dissolutions
  • Intellectual property (particularly copyright and trademark)
  • Special state and federal reporting requirements
  • Lobbying expenditures limits
  • Regulations directed at mitigating conflicts of interest and monitoring executive compensation
  • Tax-related issues around unrelated business income.

Organizations can apply to participate in this LegalCORPS program by submitting a Nonprofit Legal Needs Assessment application form.

To participate, an organization must:

  • Be located in or serving Minnesota.
  • Be a legal entity organized under the laws of the State of Minnesota.
  • Have an active board of directors.
  • Preferably have annual gross revenue below $750,000. However, LegalCORPS will consider applications from organizations with a larger annual revenues.