Our Charity and Social Business Team is a separate team in the firm focusing specifically on charitable and "not for profit" clients. It has a national reputation in its field. It provides practical, innovative and cost effective advice to over 600 charities, social enterprises and other not for profit organisations, delivered by lawyers with detailed knowledge and first-hand experience of the sector.
We work with organisations that are varied in size, constitutional structure and area of operation. Some clients are large, sophisticated household names; others are small and operate within a local or specialist area with extremely limited resources.
The Charity and Social Business Team is led by a recognised leader in the field, James Sinclair Taylor, and is made up of six partners and five solicitors. Members of the team have extensive experience advising clients on legal matters in the context of the wider third sector. Their individual specialisms in governance and commercial law, property and employment allow us to provide clients with a holistic service designed to cover all their legal needs. Where appropriate we draw on the wider resources of the firm.
Members of our team are authors of a leading book dealing with legal issues in the sector, the Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook, published by the Directory of Social Change; click here for more information.
We are highly rated in legal guides, the Legal 500 and Chambers. The latter notes the team's "strong reputation" and refers to James Sinclair Taylor as a "massively effective lawyer."
Partners and solicitors in the team have first-hand experience of the sector, either working or volunteering for charities, or serving on trustee boards and committees.
The team is active in building capacity within the sector, contributing articles to sector magazines and running regular training seminars and conferences. Please see our seminar section or click here.
We are members of the Charity Law Association.
Russell-Cooke has Investors in People accreditation.
Our work covers:
- Governance and constitutional issues, including registration of new charities
- Tendering and contracting
- Fundraising and grants
- Charitable trading, trading subsidiaries, tax and VAT
- Mergers and incorporations of charities
- Collaborative working arrangements
- Intellectual property and trademarks
- Charity Commission inquiries, schemes and orders
- Charity trustee duties
- Data protection, confidentiality and Freedom of Information Act issues
- Dispute resolution and litigation
- Training and trustee board development.
- Employment law - reducing the risk of disputes with staff and implementing internal change
- Employment tribunals and claims.
- Property advice on acquisitions, disposals and transfers of land, and compliance with the Charities Act
- Property advice on developments, leases and licences
- Funding and security issues in relation to grants and mortgages.
We work with you in whatever way suits you best. For example, we can help you drive through a merger by providing legal, project management and change management advice to the trustees and senior management teams, helping them address, risk, human resource and property issues. Alternatively we are happy to give light touch general advice on governance issues, contracts or disputes. We understand clients' cost sensitivities and always provide a scope of work and an estimate of cost, followed by ongoing communication on costs.
Training, information and support
We provide a variety of training events and seminars and are happy to discuss tailored training for your trustees and staff.
- We run an annual ten-part free seminar series covering all aspects of a charity's work, including items on employment law, property law, constitutional issues and governance, mergers and collaborative working; click here for more information on our seminars.
- We run an annual conference for charity trustees with Sayer Vincent, one of the leading accountants involved in the voluntary sector.
- We have run an HR conference with the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
- We produce a monthly email update for contacts and clients highlighting items of interest. If you would like to receive this please click here for more information.
Members of the team regularly speak at conferences run in association with sector umbrella bodies the Directory of Social Change and NCVO.
We regularly publish articles in the sector press, including a regular column on legal issues in Third Sector, one of the sector's leading weekly magazines. The team has also published articles in Charity Finance, Caritas and Charity Times.
We are an approved consultant of the NCVO.