Small and mid-size nonprofits have many legal needs that would not be met without the generous donation of time and resources by lawyers around the country. To this end, the Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta (PBP-ATL) organizes local volunteer lawyers to meet the non-litigation needs of nonprofit clients. From contracts to corporate governance, PBP-ATL maximizes the impact Georgia nonprofits have on their communities. After all, organizations need legal services not just when something goes wrong, but also to prevent problems in the first place.
Rachel Spears is the executive director of PBP-ATL. Like many nonprofit leaders, she first practiced at a very large law firm. She tells us how issue spotting plays a central role in matching expert volunteers to clients. Not only does Rachel need vast legal knowledge to see what her clients don't, but she also needs to manage her board of directors and staff, develop a budget, do the books, fundraise, and more.
It turns out that focusing too much on your mission can actually impede your organizational success. Rachel can sympathize with her clients that simply want to help, but it's clear that ignoring fundraising or running afoul of state or federal regulations puts you on track to help nobody. Organizations like PBP-ATL are rare and small, but keep nonprofits within the law by leveraging the generosity of members of the legal profession.
This episode is hosted by Mike Spivey, a consultant for prospective and current law students.