To be eligible for free transactional legal services, an organization must be:
- A nonprofit organization, or one seeking 501(c)(3) status, serving the disadvantaged or enhancing the quality of life through important social, civic, arts, educational, or environmental programs or services
- Seeking transactional (i.e. non-litigation) legal assistance, and unable to pay for legal services without significantly impacting resources for programs
- Governed by a board that has a sufficient number of independent directors or trustees, or is willing to work towards those standards
- Located in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York (primarily the Lower Hudson Valley and Long Island), and primarily serving the communities within these three states. We do not assist nonprofits that are primarily focused on serving communities outside of the tristate region, even if the nonprofits are located in our service area.
Other considerations include: the organization’s impact and beneficiaries, financial profile and sustainability, the nature of the legal request and the likelihood we can identify an attorney to assist, as well as the organization’s ability to be responsive to and work with the Partnership and our volunteer attorneys. For a start-up organization, the quality and thoughtfulness of its business plan is also a consideration.
Please note that the Partnership does not assist individuals or for-profit organizations. Also note that the Partnership does not have the legal expertise necessary to advise houses of worship, religious corporations, or religious schools.
For nonprofits that have already received 501(c)(3) public charity status from the IRS and qualify for our services, we charge a non-refundable administrative fee, as follows:
- For existing nonprofits that Pro Bono Partnership has never helped with a legal matter: $325 if their annual budget is under $100,000, or $595 if their annual budget is $100,000 or more. Please visit our Existing Nonprofits page if you would like to request legal assistance.
- For nonprofits that the Partnership previously helped with a formal legal matter: $325 if their annual budget is under $100,000, or $425 if their annual budget is $100,000 or more. We charge this fee in order to defray our costs in evaluating, among other things, whether a nonprofit still qualifies for our pro bono services and has certain corporate governance practices in place. In order to minimize the impact of this fee on nonprofits, the administrative fee is charged only if:
- We have not worked on a formal legal matter for the nonprofit in more than two (2) years.
- More than five (5) years have passed since we last formally reviewed whether the nonprofit qualifies for our services.
Please visit our Current and Past Clients page for more information.
Pro Bono Partnership can assist new groups with incorporation and/or obtaining tax-exempt status, and charges a non-refundable administrative fee of $695 to organizations that qualify for our services. The organizations should also be prepared to pay filing fees at the state and federal level. Please visit our Emerging Nonprofits page if you would like assistance with formation.
A nonprofit will not have to pay an administrative fee if the Partnership is not able to accept it as a client or to continue working with it because it no longer qualifies for our services.
The foregoing procedures for evaluating whether a nonprofit qualifies for our services and the administrative fees are subject to revision in the future.