How do you bill for your services?
While we do take projects on an hourly basis, we prefer to work on a flat fee basis for small matters or to fix fees for various stages of a case for more complex matters. Flat fees are available for matters such as:
- Start-up services for a new nonprofit, association, or foundation
- Preparing fundraising registrations and filing them in various jurisdictions
- Dissolution services
- Revising governing documents
- Conducting a board or staff training
- Responding to IRS inquiries, adverse determinations, and deficiency or penalty notices
If you would prefer a flat fee, don’t hesitate to ask whether your project can be billed on a flat fee basis. We also offer structured flat fee payments for larger projects and ongoing general counsel representations. Please don’t hesitate to call us to discuss your legal needs and to explore the pricing model that works for you. We genuinely want to help and we won’t ever bill you for the call.
Do we always agree on services before I am billed?
Yes. You will always receive a detailed engagement letter outlining the services we will provide and the basis for our fee.
Do you have an ongoing maintenance program?
Yes. We are available to serve as counsel for nonprofit organizations on an ongoing basis. These services can be provided on an hourly basis or as part of a structured monthly flat fee for ongoing legal representation. As part of our ongoing maintenance service, we will automatically prepare annual meeting minutes, the annual report, annual solicitation registrations, review the annual Form 990, review common contracts and agreements before they are signed and remain available to answer questions by telephone or e-mail at no additional cost.
How long does it take for a return phone call?
We pride ourselves on our responsiveness. If the person you are trying to reach cannot return the call personally that day, an assistant will contact you to schedule a call at a time that is convenient for you.
How long does it take for a return email?
Emails are generally responded to the same day. If a complete response will take longer or the response is better suited to an in-person meeting or telephone call, we will contact you to let you know, generally the same day.
Do you have a team to help if you are busy/not needed?
In addition to our office staff, we rely on a network of peer attorneys, accountants, and other professionals to meet your needs. We have lawyers who provide contract services to our firm as well as preferred vendors and lawyers that we co-counsel with for virtually any area of expertise.
Who will my main contact person be?
Ellis Carter or Yvonne Moss will be responsible for your representation. Ellis and Yvonne are assisted by our paralegals, Melinda Wiese and Cynthia Mercado.
Is there someone on the team to answer quick questions?
Yes, we will respond to quick questions within 24 hours and usually much more quickly.
Can I get direct access to an attorney when I call?
Absolutely. If we are available, we will take your call.
How long does it take to schedule a meeting?
Typically, meetings can be scheduled within the week or early the following week.
How do you initiate communication with your clients on an ongoing basis?
We keep our clients informed by sending out a monthly e-newsletter. We also send out alerts about changes that can impact you, and maintain a website and blog filled with free information which you can access at www.charitylawyerblog.com.
Can I call you about any legal problems I have or just about matters within your specialty?
You are welcome to call about any legal problems you may have. If your matter is outside our specific area of expertise, we will refer you to one of our trusted colleagues.
What legal areas can you assist me with?
Our specific area of expertise is general business law as well as the corporate, tax and regulatory laws that are specific to nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations. Our practice is very tax focused because, counter intuitively, tax-exempt organizations generally have more, rather than fewer, IRS compliance obligations. This is because the IRS must ensure that valuable tax exemptions, eligibility for deductible contributions, tax-exempt bond funding and other benefits are not exploited. We have a network of trusted professionals, many of whom offer our clients preferred rates, that we can refer you to for matters outside our areas of expertise.
How will you consult with me while I am finding and dealing with other lawyers you refer me to?
We can remain involved to help you with planning and strategy if the matter calls for such assistance or if you prefer us to remain involved.
Do I work exclusively with you on issues you specialize in or do I deal with a team of lawyers?
On areas within our specialty, you will deal with attorneys Ellis Carter or Yvonne Moss,and our paralegals Melinda Wiese and Cynthia Mercado.