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Charitable Organizations Committe

PBA Committee to Focus on Non-profit Organizations

The Charitable Organizations Committee was recently created to provide helpful resources for members in specific areas of law practice. The committee has more than 70 members and focuses on matters concerning lawyers who are employed by or who represent non-profit organizations. The two committee co-chairs are Professor Penina Kessler Lieber and Susan Marie Mussman.

“Because the nonprofit community is so important today, we felt it was timely for the PBA to create this new committee,” said Lieber. “It will serve as a resource for our lawyers, many of whom have extensive connections with non-profit organizations in their own communities. As the law has become more complicated with respect to non-profit affairs, lawyers are finding that they are required to know this type of law and keep abreast of any new issues.”

“Penina and I have discussed several ideas for the committee to address,” said Mussman. “We would like to increase continuing education programs for lawyers in the non-profit sector and also offer them networking opportunities. We are also thinking about setting up a listserv through the PBA so that practitioners across Pennsylvania can come together and discuss issues of importance to this line of work.”

A survey was sent out to the committee members to find out their specific areas of practice and gather ideas for what resources are most needed. Some possible educational program topics are being discussed as well.

“We have several program topics in the works,” said Lieber. “One topic we’re looking at is the new face of non-profit organizations in cyberspace. Nearly every charity has its own home page now with a ‘donate now’ link. With this different way of donating, there will be a different way to regulate it. We thought this would make a very interesting program topic.”

Lieber also hopes to include information from the Program on Law & Global Philanthropy, which she is directing at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

“The program is a comparative study of how law affects charitable activity throughout the world and how that charitable activity, in turn, affects the laws of the world,” said Lieber. “We are looking at expanding the program from just discussing philanthropy to including a broader picture: what we call third-sector legal studies. This information is way ahead of curve and will be very valuable to members.”

If you are interested in joining the Charitable Organizations Committee, please email Ursula Marks at ursula.marks@pabar.org. For more information, call 800-932-0311, ext. 2206.