At Nussbaum | Speir, we focus on serving religious institutions and nonprofits. As a boutique law firm, we are specialized, and our size allows us to be client-focused, flexible, and efficient. At the same time, our national network of colleagues at other firms means we can quickly scale to meet client needs for large litigation or other matters. We are passionate about what we do and devoted to the clients and causes we serve.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM LITIGATION
As national advocates on religious freedom issues, we’ve first-chaired dozens of cases through trial and appeal, including secessionist disputes, church-minister controversies, cases seeking free exercise exemptions under the First Amendment and RFRA, challenges to burdensome zoning laws under RLUIPA, and Establishment Clause claims.
FIRST AMENDMENT/AMICUS COUNSEL
We serve alongside trial and appellate counsel to advise on First Amendment issues and ensure meritorious claims and arguments are preserved for appeal. We also engage in amicus advocacy where our clients have an interest in a case.
We’ve conducted hundreds of internal investigations, including ecclesiastical and canonical investigations, to help clients root out misconduct, manage compliance, and improve internal processes and culture.
We know first-hand how legal disputes can quickly morph into public-relations challenges. That’s why we don’t just advise on legal risks. We help clients strategize internal and external communications during crises — when audiences listen most intently.
We represent employers through every phase of the employment process: hiring, handbooks, agreements, investigations, terminations, state and federal administrative proceedings, and civil litigation. We help clients craft thoughtful HR architecture to reflect their identity and values and preserve their defenses.
Churches and ministry organizations are engines of creative expression, whether it’s music, books, video, or curriculum. We help clients devise sensible creative works policies for employees, protect their intellectual property, and deploy it to further their mission.
RELIGIOUS identity AUDITS
Even with a strong commitment to religious values, few organizations have taken time to thoughtfully articulate those values and express them in legally significant ways. We provide clients with religious identity audits to identify these weaknesses and enhance religious freedom protections.
We have testified before legislatures and led successful efforts to enact legislation protecting religious freedom. We have also helped defeat bills that unfairly single out religious organizations for discriminatory treatment.
Prevention & Defense
Sexual misconduct in religious settings devastates victims and causes scandal. For many religious organizations, it is their largest under-insured risk. We assist with proven preventive strategies, objective factfinding, and effective defense.
We represent clients before state and federal administrative agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, EEOC, Colorado Division of Civil Rights, and Colorado Department of Human Services, on issues like healthcare mandates, employment discrimination, and youth camp regulations.
Our expertise also includes:
Alternative dispute resolution
Associations and charitable trusts
Child care licensing
Church polity, structure, constitutions, organizing documents, and property
Complex civil and commercial litigation
Confidences and privileges
Contracts, including employment agreements, vendor agreements, leases, licenses, NDAs, noncompetes, activity releases, and others
Employee discipline and terminations
First Amendment and other legal protections for free speech, freedom of association, and religious autonomy
International religious freedom / persecution
Land use and zoning
Morally compliant healthcare plans
Sexual misconduct policies
Tax-exempt issues, including property and sales tax exemptions and section 501(c) status