Practice Areas

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.

 

ECCLESIASTICAL INVESTIGATIONS

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.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT

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.

 

EMPLOYMENT LAW

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.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

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.

LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY

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.

 

Sexual Misconduct
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.

Administrative Advocacy

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

  • Real estate

  • Sexual misconduct policies

  • Tax-exempt issues, including property and sales tax exemptions and section 501(c) status

  • Volunteer liability