Skip to main content

Serving on a Nonprofit Board 2018: Practical and Ethical Considerations for Attorneys

Speaker(s): Courtney Darts, David G. Samuels, Nancy Eberhardt, Sharon Stapel
Recorded on: Aug. 1, 2018
PLI Program #: 220583

Courtney Darts is Legal Director at Pro Bono Partnership, an organization that provides business and transactional legal services to nonprofits serving the disadvantaged or enhancing the quality of life in neighborhoods in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  In her current role, Courtney oversees the Partnership’s legal and educational programs.  She also provides direct legal services to nonprofit organizations in New York and Connecticut, focusing on nonprofit, tax-exempt, and corporate governance matters.

Prior to becoming Legal Director, Courtney was Director of Education and a Senior Staff Attorney at the Partnership for several years. Before joining Pro Bono Partnership, she was in private practice.  Currently, Courtney serves as a member of the Non-Profit Organizations Committee of the New York City Bar Association and on the board of Nonprofit Westchester.  She is a graduate of Fairfield University and Fordham University School of Law and is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York. 

David G. Samuels joined Duval & Stachenfeld LLP as a partner in 2006.  He is Chair of the Firm’s Tax Exempt Organizations Practice Group and a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department and its Employment Practice Group.  Mr. Samuels has, since 2007, been named annually as one of the Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers in the New York metropolitan area in the category of Non-Profit/Charities Law.  He was named by Best Lawyers as its New York City Non-Profit/Charities Law Lawyer of the Year for 2016 and again for 2018.

Mr. Samuels has extensive experience representing numerous public charities and private foundations, including social service agencies, grant-making foundations, mental health facilities, educational organizations, and religious institutions.  His clients include New York University, Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, Atran Foundation, Bone Marrow Foundation, Board of National Missions, Interborough Consultation Center, Social Science Research Council, the Workers Circle, and the YWCA of the City of New York. 

Mr. Samuels is a recognized expert on a wide range of issues involving charitable organizations, including compensation, governance, fiduciary duty, self-dealing and conflict of interest, prudent investments, and endowments and restricted funds.  He represents targets of investigations and inquiries from government agencies (including the New York Attorney General).  He frequently deals with the Attorney General on regulatory matters, including sales, mergers, dissolutions, and cy pres applications.  He teaches the course on Charitable Organizations as an adjunct professor at New York Law School.  Mr. Samuels is former chair and a member of the Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the New York City Bar Association.  He has chaired and participated in numerous continuing legal education and accounting education programs on nonprofit issues.  Mr. Samuels is the lead editor and co-author of a treatise, Nonprofit Compensation, Benefits, and Employment Law, and has written extensively on nonprofit issues with numerous articles published in the New York Law Journal and elsewhere.  He is also an experienced civil and appellate litigator and employment lawyer.

Mr. Samuels received an A.B. degree (cum laude) from Harvard College in 1974, a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1978, and an LL.M. from NYU School of Law in 1985.  Mr. Samuels was Deputy Chief of the New York AG’s Charities Bureau from 1987 to 1995.  He was previously a partner at Perlman & Perlman and at Butler, Fitzgerald & Potter. Mr. Samuels is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in New York.

Nancy Eberhardt is Executive Director of Pro Bono Partnership.  Nancy is responsible for advancing the mission of the Partnership and leading the staff and legal programs.  Involved in all areas of the organization, Nancy sets strategy, provides operations and financial oversight, recruits volunteer attorneys, promotes client outreach and education, and serves as liaison to the Partnership’s Board of Directors.

Prior to being appointed Executive Director, Nancy was the Director of Pro Bono Partnership’s New Jersey Program for 12 years.  Before that, Nancy was in private practice with a focus on environmental law. 

Nancy currently serves on the Pro Bono Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association.  Nancy has served on the boards of several nonprofits, and was previously an adjunct professor in the Department of Public Administration at Kean University.  Nancy received the Judge Learned Hand Award from AJC, and has been presented with many community service awards and recognitions on behalf of the Partnership.

Nancy is admitted to the bar in New Jersey, and is a graduate of The College of William and Mary and of Rutgers School of Law — Newark.

Sharon Stapel is President of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of NY (NPCC) NPCC encourages strong, transparent, and informed nonprofit management and advocates for fair and reasonable nonprofit public policy with its nearly 1,700 nonprofit members and a robust Government Relations Council. Prior to joining NPCC, Sharon was the Executive Director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP), where she worked on national and local LGBTQ policy issues and was named a White House Champion of Change. Sharon sits on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, the Mayor’s Nonprofit Resiliency Committee, the Ahead of the Curve coalition of NYC capacity builders, the Board of CUNY Law School’s Main Street Legal Services, and the Advisory Board of Answer: Sex Ed, Honestly.

In addition to her work at NPCC and AVP, Sharon directed domestic violence legal programs at South Brooklyn Legal Services and the Legal Aid Society, where she created Legal Aid’s first dedicated domestic violence project. Sharon is a former Adjunct Professor of Law at CUNY Law School and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Hunter College and worked at anti-violence organizations in Massachusetts and South Africa. Sharon is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and CUNY Law School, and lives in Brooklyn with her wife and children.