Stanford Law Clinic Launches Website for Nonprofit Pro Bono Support

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Publish Date:
August 15, 2017
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Summary

Stanford Law’s Organizations and Transactions Clinic announced today the launch of a website offering free access to hundreds of sample legal documents for attorneys who represent nonprofit organizations.

As described on the website, model legal documents for nonprofits are often hard to find. Several organizations make available corporate governance models, though it’s difficult to find examples of other documents, especially materials relating to charitable programs and other activities specific to nonprofits. “We wanted to make a contribution toward addressing that gap in the resource base,” said Jay A. Mitchell, Professor of Law and director of the clinic.

Stanford Law Clinic Launches Website for Nonprofit Pro Bono Support 1

The site’s roughly 200 form and precedent legal documents relate to a wide range of matters, including corporate governance, programmatic and earned income activities, and fiscal sponsorship, resource sharing, affiliation, and other relationships unique to nonprofits.

The website also contains brief discussions of the clinic’s approach to the design of legal documents and client communications, which centers on accessibility and practical use by clients. “We think it’s instructive to try to learn from the design community in how we approach legal documents. We thought the site was a way to share that point of view in a concrete way,” continued Mitchell, who has published about the intersections of design and legal documents.

Mitchell and Michelle Sonu, Lecturer in Law and Clinical Supervising Attorney, led the project with support from the Robert Crown Law Library and Stanford Law’s communication and information technology departments.

“We hope the legal community finds this a helpful resource,” said Sonu, “and that it extends our clinic’s impact by encouraging pro bono transactional work for nonprofits.”

SLS students and instructors in the clinic prepared all of the documents and commentary provided on the site. Recent SLS graduate Grace Chediak, JD ‘17, who spent two quarters as a student in the clinic, said, “the clinic was one of the most rewarding experiences of my law school career and I am excited to see how this new resource will broaden the reach and effect of our clinical work within the larger nonprofit community.”

About the Organizations and Transactions Clinic
The Organizations and Transactions Clinic is part of the Mills Legal Clinic at Stanford Law. The clinic provides free corporate legal services to established Northern California and other nonprofit organizations. It is designed to help Stanford Law students learn about corporate practice and develop as lawyers and professionals.

About the Mills Legal Clinic
Founded in 2005, the Mills Legal Clinic is a vital part of Stanford Law’s mission to prepare every student for the challenges, responsibilities and rewards of a career as a legal professional.  Providing individualized, hands-on learning opportunities, this intensive training ground shapes future lawyers of every career aspiration, whether they choose to work in a large firm, become entrepreneurs, make policy or engage in full-time public service. The work done in the Mills Legal Clinic ranges from high-impact litigation to direct-services representation, from broad-based policy initiatives to close work with individuals and organizations—locally, nationally, and abroad.

About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.