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Serving on a Nonprofit Board 2019: Practical and Ethical Considerations for Attorneys

Speaker(s): Courtney Darts, David G. Samuels, Maria L. Imperial, Nancy Eberhardt
Recorded on: Jul. 31, 2019
PLI Program #: 248040

Courtney Darts is Deputy Executive Director of Lawyers Alliance for New York. Each year, more than 2,000 attorneys volunteer with Lawyers Alliance to assist hundreds of nonprofit organizations and social enterprises that are improving the quality of life in New York City’s neighborhoods. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance, Ms. Darts was an attorney at Pro Bono Partnership, where she advised nonprofits on corporate governance and tax-exempt matters and held several leadership positions, including Legal Director. Earlier in her career, she was an associate at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.  Ms. Darts is a member of the New York City Bar Committee on Non-Profit Organizations and is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and Fairfield University.

David G. Samuels rejoined Perlman & Perlman as a partner in 2021, having previously been at the firm from 2001 to 2006.  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, Council for Economic Education, Atran Foundation, Board of National Missions, Interborough Consultation Center, Littauer Foundation, Pencils of Promise, Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 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 Duval & Stachenfeld and at Butler, Fitzgerald & Potter. Mr. Samuels is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in New York.

Maria Imperial is the CEO of the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester, whose mission is eliminating racism and empowering women.  Since 1929, the YWCA has pioneered social change through innovative programs that improve the lives of women and families.  With a budget of $6 million and 200 staff, each week the YWCA serves over 4,000 people and provides a home for 193 low-income women.  Under Ms. Imperial’s leadership, the YWCA completed a $26 million green renovation of its Residence and $4 million bond refinancing of its North St. Activity Center, re-aligned the organization’s programs to better reflect its mission and launched two signature events:  the annual In the Company of Women luncheon and the Stand Against Racism.  Most recently, the YWCA launched its Westchester Center for Racial Equity.  Ms. Imperial has been recognized by Westchester 914 as a 2018 Women in Business Awardee, Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice Champion of Justice Award, the Westchester Human Rights Commission for promoting human rights in the County and also by the Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WESTCOP) for her community service.    She serves on the Board of Directors of Nonprofit Westchester and the Women in the Courts Committee for the Ninth Judicial District.

Ms. Imperial began her career working as an associate at O’Melveny and Myers law firm.   She is a graduate of Harvard College, the Robert Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Harvard Law School.  She lives in Yonkers with her husband Roland Acevedo and their two children Alex and Allegra.

Nancy Eberhardt is the Executive Director of Pro Bono Partnership, a nonprofit that provides pro bono legal services to nonprofits serving communities in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.  Nancy is responsible for advancing the mission of Pro Bono 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 her Executive Director appointment, Nancy was the Director of the Pro Bono Partnership New Jersey Program for 12 years. Before that, she was in private practice with a focus on environmental law. Nancy served for many years on the Pro Bono Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association. She has served on the boards of several nonprofits, and was previously an adjunct professor in the Department of Public Administration at Kean University.

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.