Reach Out for Nonprofits

  Reach Out logo  

Reach Out: Legal Assistance for Nonprofits is a collaborative effort of the Association of Corporate Counsel, Northeast Ohio; the Federal Bar Association, Northern District of Ohio Chapter; and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA), all of which have teamed up to develop and provide valuable law-related education and pro bono legal assistance to nonprofit organizations in Northeast Ohio whose missions focus on community service and who demonstrate financial need.

Nonprofits face many of the same complexities as commercial businesses, and sometimes more, but often lack resources. A series of free educational seminars will provide nonprofit leaders with information on various legal issues of importance to their organizations. Please visit the tab marked "For Nonprofits" for details and for the criteria for nonprofit eligibility.

Leaders from eligible nonprofits and attorneys seeking to help local nonprofits are encouraged to attend the 2015 Reach Out educational seminars and brief advice clinics - see schedule below, or email to be added to our mailing list.  The first seminar of 2015 - "Immigration Law 101 and Required Disclosures to Employees" - will be held on March 26 at the CMBA offices (address, times, and registration below).  For a flyer of the March 26 seminar, please click here.  For a downloadable brochure outlining the Reach Out: Legal Assistance for Nonprofits program, please click here.

2015 Calendar

Reach Out Educational Seminars are designed to provide important legal information related to nonprofit management. Nonprofit leaders are encouraged to attend each seminar and participate in the brief advice clinics that follow. Attorneys will receive 1.5 hours of CLE credit for attendance at the educational seminar, which is free with participation in the clinic to follow.

The FREE Educational Seminars will be held at the offices of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (please note change of address): 

1375 East Ninth Street, Floor 2
Cleveland, OH 44114 


4:00-4:30 p.m.  Registration
4:30-6:00 p.m.  Topic Discussion (1.5 hr. CLE credit)
6:15-7:15 p.m.  Consultations/Brief Advice Clinic

March 26, 2015: "Immigration Law 101 and Required Disclosures to Employees" - Speakers: Karen Giffen, Melissa Laubenthal, and Danielle Linert of Giffen & Kaminski, LLC

This seminar will feature information on the basic elements of immigration law, including compliance with the Employee Verification System (I-9); responding to “mismatch” letters; impact of antidiscrimination laws; and a primer on citizenship status.  The seminar will also address the law regarding what employers must, may, and may not disclose to employees and others, including potential employees, on such subjects as verification of employment; credit checks; background checks; medical records; HIPAA, FMLA, and ADA rules; drug testing; health plan information; federal and state labor law posters; and information about former employees.

May 28, 2015: "Hot Topics in Nonprofit Governance: Data Protection, Conflicts, and Business Management"

September 17, 2015: "Legal Aspects of Fundraising for Nonprofits"

October 29, 2015: "Legal and Practical Advice in Planning Compliant Events" (in partnership with the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of the CMBA) 


 CMBA logo     ACCA logo     Federal Bar logo 


Reach Out presents a series of free educational seminars that will provide nonprofit leaders with information on various legal issues of importance to their organizations. Nonprofits will be matched with volunteer attorneys following the seminar for a brief advice and counseling session. If the services of a transactional lawyer appear to be needed, the matter may be referred to a lawyer willing to accept referrals.

Nonprofits are eligible for Reach Out if the following applies:

  1. Geographic area served: Northeastern Ohio
  2. Type and missions: The organization’s decision-making process must have significant community grassroots involvement; the organization must be working to provide housing, economic opportunities, social services, educational improvement, and/or cultural preservation to low-income populations or communities
  3. Budget: Unable to pay for legal services or demonstrate that such payment would substantially negatively impact its charitable work

Nonprofit leaders may register for the next Reach Out educational seminar by clicking here.  For details on the March 29, 2012 seminar click here.

Lawyers will receive free CLE credits at each educational seminar they attend with the goal of educating them to provide services in their choice of three ways: 

  • Serving as faculty in law-related education programs;
  • Providing brief advice and counseling at designated clinics; and/or
  • Accepting referrals for pro bono service on transactional legal matters, and in some cases, litigation.

Lawyers with experience in organizational and corporate structure, transactional matters (real estate, landlord-tenant, employment, contract), and other nonprofit-relevant legal issues are invited to volunteer to take referrals, provide counseling at clinics, or serve as speakers and/or mentors.

To volunteer, please contact Jessica Paine by email or phone at (216) 696-3525 x4462.  Attorneys may register for the next Reach Out educational seminar and CLE by clicking here.

March 29, 2012 - "Fundamentals of Nonprofit Governance" - Speakers: John C. Goheen, Esq. and  Jennifer L. Adams, Esq., both of Ulmer & Berne LLP

April 19, 2012 - "Contract Basics and Real Estate Challenges for Nonprofits" - Speakers: Linda A. Striefsky, Esq. & Jacinto A. Nunez, Esq., Thompson Hine LLP; Cynthia A. Binns, Esq. & John D. Moran, Esq., GrafTech International Holdings Inc. 

July 19, 2012 - "Employment Law Primer and Intellectual Property Law Tips for Nonprofits" - Speakers: Steven E. Seasly, Esq. & James D. Schweikert, Esq., Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP; Kevin M. Dunn, Esq., The Lincoln Electric Company; and Melissa M. Dials, Esq., GrafTech International Holdings Inc. 

October 25, 2012 - "Privacy and Data Protection & Risk Management and Insurance for Nonprofits" - Speakers: Thomas F. Zych, Esq., Thompson Hine LLP; Lisa Lavelle & Betsy A. Harting, Oswald Companies; and Timothy D. Smanik, Esq.

March 14, 2013 - "Nonprofit Boot Camp: Things You Need to Know" - Speakers: Craig T. Haran, Partner, Frantz Ward LLP; Brandon Miller, Principal, Howard Wershbale & Co.; Lisa Black, General Counsel, Catholic Charities Corporation; and Shannon Jerse, Deputy General Counsel, Sisters of Charity Health System

May 30, 2013 - "What to Think About When You're Thinking About Forming a Nonprofit" - Speakers: Steven W. Day, Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, VLA Committee member; Todd K. Masuda, Schneider, Smeltz, Ranney & LaFond P.L.L., 2013 VLA Committee Chair

August 8, 2013 - "Employment Law Update for Nonprofits" - Speakers: Kelli A. Michaud, Wingspan Care Group; Robert M. Wolff, Littler Mendelson, P.C.

October 24, 2013 - "The Ins and Outs of Fundraising for Nonprofits" - Speakers: Ginger F. Mlakar, Director of Donor Relations, The Cleveland Foundation; Nelson S. Beckford, Grantmaking Program Officer, The Cleveland Foundation; Elizabeth H. Voudouris, Executive Vice President, BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence

March 27, 2014 - "The ABCs of Board Nonprofit Governance" - Speaker: Stacey L. McKinley, founder and principal of McKinley Nonprofit Services
Sept. 18, 2014 - "In-Depth Review of Employment Law" - Speakers: Robert Wolff of Littler Mendelson, P.C. and Kelli Webb Michaud of Wingspan Care Group  
Oct. 30, 2014 - "Real Estate Law: Leases and Contractual Issues" - Speaker: Lori Pittman, of Ulmer & Berne LLP