Good Counsel reveals:

  • What makes a nonprofit a nonprofit (Hint:  it has nothing to do with whether the organization makes a profit)
  • How good governance ties to mission and fundraising
  • How to protect the organization’s name and monetize its original works  
  • Potent phrases that can turn gift pledges into enforceable contracts
  • One thing NOT to say in a hire letter or employee handbook
  • How to find a coveted law job at a nonprofit

GOOD COUNSEL:  Meeting the Legal Needs of Nonprofits

 by Lesley Rosenthal (John Wiley & Sons 2012)

A concise overview of the legal needs of nonprofit organizations. 

Good Counsel is a compact and personable overview of the legal needs of nonprofits, crafted by one of America's most astute nonprofit general counsels. The book distills the legal needs of the one million charitable organizations in the US.

Written in a clear and accessible style, with plenty of humor and storytelling as well as illustrative case studies, Good Counsel explains the basics of nonprofit corporate law, governance and the tax exemption.  It then takes a department-by-department look at legal topics relevant to program, fundraising, finance, communications, human resources, operations, contracts, government relations and more.  Good Counsel is designed help organizations fulfill their missions to do the public good. 

Designed to impart confidence and demystify the issues, Good Counsel is a must-read for nonprofit professionals and board members as well as lawyers and law students.  Using Good Counsel as their “playbook,” lawyers, executives and trustees can get an overview of the most common legal, governance and compliance issues facing their organization and together ramp up a top-notch legal function. 

Good Counsel includes many practical features such as:

• Practice pointers, checklists and assessment tools

• Sample contracts, licenses and other form documents

• Case studies, end-of-chapter focus questions and available lesson plans for easy classroom use by educators in business, management, public policy and law schools as well as clinical legal programs.

Good Counsel is the first-of-its-kind guidebook written by the sitting General Counsel of a major nonprofit.  Written by influential author, speaker and Bar leader Lesley Rosenthal, the General Counsel of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Good Counsel shares the insights of a Harvard Law School graduate with years of in-house and business law experience as well as board service.  

Lesley Rosenthal, Author

More information including Good Counsel work plans, case studies, glossaries and other resources available at