Legal Referral Program

Our Legal Referral Program connects nonprofits with pro bono attorneys. The program was designed to help nonprofits with legal needs, while offering quality pro bono opportunities for transactional lawyers to utilize their corporate law related expertise. Our Legal Referral Program has greatly enhanced the ability of our client nonprofits to move forward with their missions advised by competent legal counsel.


A nonprofit can receive pro bono help by contacting the Clearinghouse, submitting an application, and meeting the following eligibility guidelines:

  • The organization must be nonprofit or seek to establish nonprofit status in Massachusetts; and
  • It must provide services to low or moderate income people or serve a compelling community need; and
  • It must be unable to afford legal services or demonstrate that the cost of obtaining assistance would adversely affect their ability to fulfill their mission.


In the event that a group seeks assistance with nonprofit formation, attendance at a workshop on that topic will be required. A fee of $25.00 per person will be charged for each attendee. There is an administrative fee ($100 for formation assistance for start-ups and $200 for an established nonprofit) for successful placement of each case with the volunteer attorney.

Start the Application Process

Click here to initiate the application process for pro bono legal referral. Please note this is a preliminary application and you will later be required to complete a full application.

Sample Legal Issues

  • Incorporation and 501(c)(3)Tax-Exempt Status Filing
  • Corporate Entity consultation for nonprofit groups to become independent of their fiscal agents
  • Corporate Governance issues
  • Legal Assessment Program (comprehensive legal check-up)
  • Corporate Checks including annual filings with the State and Federal governments
  • Employment Law including Employees’ Handbook / Personnel Policies / Social Media Policies; Compliance; Wage and Hour Law;  Wage Payment; ADA Awareness
  • Contracts including leases of real property
  • Nonprofit Merger, De-Merger and Dissolution
  • Licensing Agreements for use of copyrighted materials on nonprofits’ websites
  • Copyright Issues
  • Trademark filing
  • State and Federal Regulation Analysis, including use of funds from 40B Developments
  • Permits, Construction Financing and Land Acquisition
  • Representation before the IRS and other government agencies
  • Zoning Analysis
  • Condominium Master Deeds for affordable housing development organizations
  • Landlord’s Rights
  • Legal Opinion on Proposed Development
  • Immigration matters such as HIB visa application
  • Dissolution
  • Lawyer Speakers on various areas of law
  • Lawyer Board Members

If you seek pro bono legal assistance for an organization outside of Massachusetts, check for providers in other states here.

Lawyers Clearinghouse is part of the National Network of Business Law Pro Bono Programs, whose members are pro bono legal services providers that represent different geographic regions across the United States. We share best practices, collaborate on educational and legal projects, and promote the delivery of high quality business and transactional legal services to nonprofits serving low-income and disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you have additional questions about our nonprofit programs or the application process, please contact Legal Referral Director Machiko Sano Hewitt by email or at 617. 778.1954.