Church Law Overview: Religious Institutions in a Secular Environment


Re-Broadcast on December 13, 2017

Churches face unique legal issues that require specialized skills and knowledge to handle. When religious organizations ask for legal assistance, don't make critical errors based on seemingly minor misconceptions of the law. Attend this comprehensive overview on church law and get up to speed on employment issues, tax exemptions, fundraising matters and more. You'll take away valuable information you can use to confidently advise churches on the technical legal issues they face.

This course is co-sponsored by Wolters Kluwer.

Key topics to be discussed:

•  Constitutional Background
•  Organizing Churches and Auxiliary Entities
•  Tax Exemption Under 501(C)(3) for Churches and Related Entities
•  Fundraising
•  Minister Compensation, Benefits and Related Issues
•  Conduct of Church Activities
•  Church Employment Law Issues
•  Church Liability Issues

Date / Time: December 13, 2017

•  2:00 pm – 5:15 pm Eastern
•  1:00 pm – 4:15 pm Central
•  12:00 pm – 3:15 pm Mountain
•  11:00 am – 2:15 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•  Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•  On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.


jonathan-nelsonJonathan Nelson practices primarily in the fields of civil litigation and corporate law, with a concentration on the representation of religious institutions.

Mr. Nelson established an independent law office in 1991, after eight years of practice in corporate litigation and financial transactional work with major law firms in Chicago and New York City. Over the next twenty-five years, Mr. Nelson represented or advised hundreds of clients in the religious community, including Christian churches of many kinds, a religious order, Hindu temples, Jungians, a Yoruba cultural center, mosques, pastors, church trustees, missionaries, and victims of religious persecution seeking asylum. Mr. Nelson has advised lay boards and clergy on a wide variety of legal concerns. Mr. Nelson has been a panelist at meetings organized by the American Bar Association and other lawyers’ groups. He also served as lead counsel in numerous judicial and administrative litigations, including a precedent-setting lawsuit brought by the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church against the City of New York in 2001 to enforce the church’s First Amendment rights to serve homeless people on the steps of the church. Mr. Nelson has been listed in SuperLawyers since 2012, and has been rated “AV Preeminent” since 1998. In 2016, he co-founded a law firm, Nelson Madden Black LLP, specifically to focus on serving the legal needs of the religious community.

Yale College, B.A. 1978
Northwestern University School of Law, J. D. 1983
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, M.A. 1984

Bar Admissions
New York State
United States District Court, Southern District of New York
United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
United States District Court, Northern District of New York
United States District Court, Western District of New York
United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

“The Implementation of the Refugee Act of 1980: A Decade of Experience,” Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (co-author) (1990)
“Judge-Made Law and the Presumption of Arbitrability,” 58 Brooklyn Law Review 279 (Summer 1992)
“Shaking the Pillars: An Asylum Applicant Shakes Loose Some Unusual Relief,” 83 Interpreter Releases 1 (2006)

English, proficient in Spanish and French

barry-blackBarry Black has practiced primarily in the fields of civil and criminal litigation, contract negotiation and dispute resolution.

An ordained and practicing clergyman for thirty years until stepping down to form Nelson Madden Black in 2016, he has focused much of his practice on religious institutions and clergy, from employment issues to dispute resolution and criminal matters. He has extensive working knowledge of administration and governance issues. In particular, he has counseled and represented both religious institutions and ministers on clergy-related issues, from parsonage and taxes to intraorganizational disputes.

Mr. Black practiced law independently from 2011 to 2016. Prior to that he was a litigation partner at a New York City law firm. His clients have ranged from major banking institutions to individual investors in a multi-million-dollar interstate investor fraud scheme and federal RICO claims. In representing several hundred criminal defendants over the course of many years, Mr. Black is experienced in trial and post-verdict litigation. In 2016, he co-founded a law firm, Nelson Madden Black LLP, specifically to focus on serving the legal needs of the religious community.

Hofstra University, B.B.A. 1991
Hofstra University School of Law, J.D. 1994

Bar Admissions
New York State
United States District Court, Southern District of New York
United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

English, Yiddish. Proficient in Hebrew, working knowledge of Spanish.

CLE Accreditation:
mylawCLE seeks approval in all states except VA.

CLE 3.00 – AK
CLE 3.00 – AL
CLE 3.00 – AR
CLE 3.00 – AZ
CLE 3.00 – CA
CLE 3.60 – CO
CLE 3.00 – DE
CLE 3.60 – FL
CLE 3.00 – GA
CLE 3.00 – HI

CLE 3.00 – IA
CLE 3.00 – ID
CLE 3.00 – IL
CLE 3.00 – IN
CLE 3.00 – KS
CLE 3.00 – KY
CLE 3.00 – LA
CLE 3.00 – ME
CLE 3.00 – MN
CLE 3.60 – MO

CLE 3.00 – MP
CLE 3.00 – MS
CLE 3.00 – MT
CLE 3.00 – NC
CLE 3.00 – ND
CLE 3.00 – NE
CLE 3.00 – NH
CLE 3.60 – NJ
CLE 3.00 – NM
CLE 3.00 – NV

CLE 3.60 – NY
CLE 3.00 – OH
CLE 3.60 – OK
CLE 3.00 – OR
CLE 3.00 – PA
CLE 3.60 – RI
CLE 3.00 – SC
CLE 3.00 – TN
CLE 3.00 – TX
CLE 3.00 – UT

N/A – VA
CLE 3.60 – VI
CLE 3.00 – VT
CLE 3.00 – WA
CLE 3.60 – WI
CLE 3.60 – WV
CLE 3.00 – WY

Accreditation Policy
myLawCLE will seek credit where attending attorneys are primarily licensed for all of its live webinars and live teleconferences, except in states which allow for reciprocity (see reciprocity section below). Credit for CLE in a self-study format is sought for in most states; however, some states do not allow for CLE credit to be earned in a self-study format (see the self-study section below). Many states typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted. For many live events, credit approval is not received prior to the program. Credit hours granted are subject to approval from each state.

Additionally, some states allow for credit to be granted on a 1:1 reciprocal basis for courses approved in another mandatory CLE jurisdiction state. This is known as a reciprocity provision and includes the following states: AK, AR, CO, FL, ME, MT, ND, NH, NJ, NY, PR, and SD. myLawCLE does not seek direct accreditation of live webinars or teleconferences in these states.

On-demand CLE
myLawCLE will seek on-demand approval in all states except Virginia and Arkansas (outside reciprocal provisions stated above).

myLawCLE Credit Guarantee
myLawCLE offers a program and credit approval guarantee. If a registered attendee is unhappy with a CLE program they have attended, myLawCLE will offer that attended access to another complimentary CLE or a full refund in order to insure the attendeeís satisfaction.

Additionally, on all online CLE programs application for approval will be made in all states where attending attorneys are primarily licensed in. If a registered attorney does not receive credit from their state for any reason, a full refund will be granted.