About Us

Nussbaum | Speir is a boutique law firm representing religious institutions, nonprofits, and other clients. We focus on comprehensively serving the needs of religious and mission-driven organizations, whether it’s corporate governance, crisis management, or civil litigation.


L. Martin Nussbaum

Phone: (719) 428-1919 | Email: martin@nussbaumspeir.com

L. Martin Nussbaum.jpg

For over 30 years, Martin Nussbaum has advised and advocated for churches, denominations, schools, and religious ministries. He is a nationally recognized expert on religious freedom, the First Amendment, and strategic litigation that seeks to protect and defend these rights. Martin has served as trial, appellate, and amicus counsel in landmark First Amendment and RFRA cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and in state and federal courts across the country. He also advocates for religious institutions before legislatures and in administrative proceedings, and serves as outside general counsel to numerous national and Colorado-based ministries.

Prior to establishing Nussbaum | Speir, Martin was a partner with Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, where he founded and co-chaired the firm’s Religious Institutions Group for over two decades.

Education

  • University of Texas at Austin School of Law, J.D. (1985)

  • University of Notre Dame, B.A. Theology (1974)

Affiliations And Awards

  • U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Consultant, consultant to Committee for Religious Liberty

  • National Diocesan Attorneys Association Executive Committee

  • Federalist Society

  • Chambers USA - Nationwide - First Amendment Litigation

  • Best Lawyers in America

  • Colorado Super Lawyer

Representative Matters

  • Catholic Benefits Ass’n v. Sebelius (W.D. Okla. 2018): Permanent injunction against federal contraceptive mandate for 1,000 Catholic employers and their affiliates, eliminating $5.9 billion in accumulated excise taxes, and awarding $720,000 in attorney’s fees and costs.

  • Genocide Against Christians in the Middle East”: Comprehensive report and atrocities database submitted on behalf of the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians to Secretary of State John Kerry in advance of historic declaration of genocide.

  • Zubik v. Burwell, 136 S. Ct. 1557 (2016): Amicus advocacy in support of petitioners seeking religious exemption under RFRA to contraceptive mandate.

  • Chabad-Lubavitch of Michigan v. Schuchman, 853 N.W.2d 390 (Mich. App. 2014): First Amendment required tolling statute of limitations pending ecclesiastical dispute resolution before rabbinic tribunals, summarily rev’d, 862 N.W.2d 648 (Mich. 2015), cert. denied (U.S. 2016).

  • Lindeman v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 43 F. Supp. 2d 1197 (D. Colo. 2014): Church not liable for volunteer’s after-hours, off-premises sexual misconduct.

  • Dobson v. Sebelius, 38 F. Supp. 3d 1245 (D. Colo. 2014): Preliminary injunction against federal abortifacient mandate for Dr. James Dobson and his ministry, Family Talk.

  • Purdum v. Purdum, 301 P.3d 718 (Kan. App. 2013): First Amendment deprives court of subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate defamatory statement made in the course of ecclesiastical tribunal proceedings.

  • Spencer v. World Vision, 633 F.3d 723 (9th Cir. 2010): Amicus advocacy for Christian and Jewish organizations in case establishing Title VII religious exemption for international Christian aid organization.

  • Grace Church & St. Stephen’s v. Bishop &Diocese of Colorado, No. 07CV1971 (Colo. Dist. Ct., El Paso Cnty. 2009): Lead counsel for Episcopal Diocese of Colorado in successful five-week trial in secessionist congregation dispute.

  • Colorado Christian University v. Weaver, 534 F.3d 1245 (10th Cir. 2008): Successful First Amendment challenge to state statute that denied public financial assistance to students who attended a “pervasively sectarian” institution.

  • Colorado Senate Bill 06-143 and House Bill 06-1090: Led lobbying effort and provided House and Senate testimony in successful defeat of “window legislation” targeting Catholic institutions.

  • In re Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland in Oregon (Bankr. D. Or.): First Amendment and charitable trust counsel for Archdiocese of Portland in the first bankruptcy of Catholic diocese in American history.

  • Hiles v. Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, 773 N.E.2d 929 (Mass. 2002): First Amendment bars civil court jurisdiction over defamation, civil rights, and other claims brought by Episcopal priest and his wife and arising from a church disciplinary process.

  • Steele v. Industrial Development Board, 301 F.3d 401 (6th Cir. 2002): Amicus advocacy for Christian and Jewish organizations in case holding that Establishment Clause does not preclude local government from providing tax-exempt bond financing for Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ college.

  • Bryce v. Episcopal Church in Diocese of Colorado, 289 F.3d 648 (10th Cir. 2002): First Amendment deprives civil courts of jurisdiction over Title VII and § 1983 claims brought by youth minister and her partner.

  • Williams v. Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, 766 N.E.2d 820 (Mass. 2002): First Amendment deprives civil courts of jurisdiction over priest’s civil rights claims alleging gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

  • Moses v. Diocese of Colorado, 863 P.2d 310 (Colo. 1993), cert. denied (U.S. 1993): Amicus advocacy on behalf of coalition of churches and denominations in support of cert petition on whether First Amendment bars judicial consideration of negligent supervision claim involving denomination and its minister.

  • Destefano v. Grabrian, 763 P.2d 275 (Colo. 1988): Rejecting minister misconduct claims of clergy malpractice and vicarious liability on common law and First Amendment grounds.

Recent Publications

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Colorado (1985), U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and U.S. District Court - Colorado

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Ian Speir

Phone: (719) 428-3093 | Email: ian@nussbaumspeir.com

Ian Speir.jpg

Ian Speir’s practice focuses on religious organizations, nonprofits, and civil litigation. He counsels clients on a variety of matters, including First Amendment and religious freedom issues, corporate governance, employment, intellectual property, internal investigations, and dispute resolution. His litigation experience includes numerous arbitrations, administrative proceedings, bench and jury trials, and appellate and amicus advocacy before the U.S. Supreme Court, Tenth Circuit, and Colorado Supreme Court.

Ian is a lecturer in constitutional law and the First Amendment at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He also serves as a Senior Advisor for Human Rights to In Defense of Christians and a Contributing Editor to Providence magazine.

After law school, Ian clerked for the Hon. Jerome A. Holmes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Prior to establishing Nussbaum | Speir, he was an associate with Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP and a member of that firm’s Religious Institutions Group.

Education

  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. (2011)

  • Texas A&M University, M.A. International Affairs (2007)

  • Oral Roberts University, B.S. Mathematics (2005)

AFFILIATIONS AND AWARDS

  • Super Lawyers, Rising Star — Nonprofit Organizations

  • John Marshall Harlan Award (outstanding service to religious institutions), Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP

  • Georgetown University Law Center Order of the Coif

  • Federalist Society

Representative Matters

  • Archdiocese of Kansas City v. City of Mission Woods (D. Kan. 2018): Successful RLUIPA claim securing church’s right to expand to accommodate growing congregation.

  • LiST Interactive, Ltd. v. Knights of Columbus, 303 F. Supp. 3d 1065 (D. Colo. 2018): Successful dismissal of RICO and other claims in commercial contract dispute.

  • Catholic Benefits Ass’n v. Sebelius (W.D. Okla. 2018): Permanent injunction against federal contraceptive mandate for 1,000 Catholic employers and their affiliates, eliminating $5.9 billion in accumulated excise taxes, and awarding $720,000 in attorney’s fees and costs.

  • Consistent, successful results for churches, child care centers, youth camp organizations, and other ministries in administrative proceedings before EEOC, Colorado Civil Rights Division, and Colorado Department of Human Services.

  • Genocide Against Christians in the Middle East”: Comprehensive report and atrocities database submitted on behalf of the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians to Secretary of State John Kerry in advance of historic declaration of genocide.

  • Zubik v. Burwell, 136 S. Ct. 1557 (2016): Amicus advocacy in support of petitioners seeking religious exemption under RFRA to contraceptive mandate.

  • David v. Sirius Computer Solutions, 779 F.3d 1209 (10th Cir. 2015) (Gorsuch, J.): Appellate briefing and oral argument in commercial tort/employment dispute.

  • Nickerson v. Network Solutions, LLC, 339 P.3d 526 (Colo. 2014): Venue selection clauses are not jurisdictional, and damages hearing is required after default judgment.

  • Aspen Mortgage Corp. v. Fountain Village Townhomes Lender, LLC (Colo. App. 2014): Appellate briefing and oral argument in real estate/spurious lien dispute.

  • Chabad-Lubavitch of Michigan v. Schuchman, 853 N.W.2d 390 (Mich. App. 2014): First Amendment required tolling statute of limitations pending ecclesiastical dispute resolution before rabbinic tribunals, summarily rev’d, 862 N.W.2d 648 (Mich. 2015), cert. denied (U.S. 2016).

  • Dobson v. Sebelius, 38 F. Supp. 3d 1245 (D. Colo. 2014): Preliminary injunction against federal abortifacient mandate for Dr. James Dobson and his ministry, Family Talk.

Recent Publications

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Colorado (2013), U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, U.S. District Courts - Colorado and North Dakota, and U.S. Court of Federal Claims

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