Highlighting the fact that almost 15 percent of Massachusetts' economy is tax-exempt and the state's largest non-governmental employer is a tax-exempt organization, the Boston Bar Association (BBA) announced in July that it has created a new Tax-Exempt Organization Section, bringing to 23 the number of sections at the BBA. The new section will be co-chaired by two attorneys who between them have some 20 years in this highly specialized practice area, Martha J. Nahill Frahm, a partner at Goulston & Storrs, and Melissa Sampson McMorrow, a partner at Nutter McClennen & Fish.
"The tax-exempt sector of the economy is extremely diverse," observes McMorrow. "We would like to continue serving the larger charitable organizations in the area (e.g. health care and educational institutions) and reach out to 'underserved populations' that had not been reflected in the previous BBA section structure, such as community development corporations, cultural institutions, conservation organizations, religious institutions, advocacy organizations and trade associations."
The Tax-Exempt Organization Section - which began life several years ago as a committee co-sponsored by the Tax Section and the Business Section - will address the needs of lawyers serving hospitals, healthcare organizations (including HMOs), colleges and universities, cultural organizations, museums, religious institutions, humanitarian and social service organizations, land and historic preservation societies, community development corporations, trade associations, chambers of commerce, social welfare organizations, advocacy organizations, corporate and family foundations, social clubs, and for-profit organizations that partner with these organizations to promote a cause or engage in a business activity.The section will also meet the needs of tax-exempt lawyers serving the individuals and organizations donating to these organizations.
"We want to be a valuable resource to lawyers practicing at firms or serving as in-house counsel at nonprofit organizations, and to organizations that may not have the resources to support in-house counsel or outside counsel on a regular basis," says Frahm. "We expect to continue the well-established and successful practice of our predecessor group, the BBA Tax Exempt Organizations Committee, of holding monthly brown bag lunches to address current developments in the sector on a timely, informative and collaborative basis. We will also partner with other BBA sections and committees to sponsor educational events of interest to the legal community."
Membership in this section will be free to BBA members for the first year.