Called to serve their faith and guided by spiritual laws, the leaders and business administrators of religious institutions face unique challenges as they try to integrate their faith with the law.
Our Church & Ministry Law practice group is particularly attuned to the challenges facing ministries as they attempt to negotiate legal issues inherent in commerce. Operated by volunteers and staff who may have little business training, religious institutions are often confronted with complex IRS rules and regulations, land-use restrictions, employment law questions, leases, commercial contracts and a host of other issues inherent in operating a large organization.
Our employment law attorneys bring important insights to process of hiring, supervising and, when necessary, terminating employees of our ministry clients. We frequently assist ministries in drafting and updating Employee Handbooks with special sensitivity to the ministerial nature of the job descriptions in a religious organization. The attorneys and staff in our practice group are themselves people of faith concerned about caring for the disadvantaged and broken. We view our work in the law as a part of our personal ministry. Our attorneys have been instrumental in creating and assisting organizations to:
Additionally, we help our church and ministry clients protect their campuses for use by generations to come through our unique Campus Preservation Planning(c) program which aims to protect ministry properties from uninsured, under-insured and uninsurable losses.
Our church has been very blessed. We appeared to be in a good position financially and had no debt. The Board of Deacons was concerned that we were in a vulnerable position for an unjust claim and was considering ways to minimize our exposure. One of our board members was able to attend a class put on by Gallagher & Kennedy attorneys about a corporate structure that focused on stewardship, while at the same time offering protection of our assets and protection from an unjust claim. As the board continued to learn more about the new corporate structure, we ultimately brought [the structure] to our congregation [which] voted unanimously to move forward. With electronic communication, the distance between Minnesota and Arizona was not a barrier at all. Mr. Brown helped us every step of the way and was always timely in responding to any question we had.
|Gary Greer, Board of Deacons
Willmar Assembly of God
Our religious leaders are confronting cultural and governmental issues vastly different than those which faced their predecessors. In legal cases ranging from attempts by city government to illegally restrict use of signs to the application of health insurance requirements, government authorities tend to treat religious organizations differently from their secular counterparts. It is imperative that attorneys who serve religious institutions understand how to apply statutory exemptions, the First Amendment, state constitutional provisions, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, privilege statutes and similar laws.
We encourage our attorneys in the Church & Ministry Law practice group to serve as adjunct professors and instructors for faith-based schools, colleges and seminaries in teaching the application of the critical legal and financial issues in those institutions. Our attorneys regularly present seminars for the Church Network, the Lutheran Best Practices Conference, The Phoenix First Assembly of God’s Dream Conference, the Risk & Insurance Management Society, the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and a host of other state and national conferences.
Active in various communities and capacities, our attorneys:
We offer programs for governing boards on topics ranging from donor development to board governance strategies and techniques, and have provided in-service training for religious schools, churches and other ministries.
In short, we would sincerely welcome the opportunity to assist in resolving any legal issues impacting your church or ministry and their operations. Bob Brown, head of the Church and Ministry Law practice group, serves as your point of first contact and may be reached on his direct line at 602-530-8023 or at email@example.com. The full Gallagher & Kennedy attorney team appreciates the opportunity to serve you.