In 2005 Jon Schumacher retired to senior counsel status—after forty years in the Trusts and Estates and Charitable Taxation fields. His half-day time since then has been entirely devoted to charitable boards and pro bono legal projects for nonprofit organizations of all sizes.
What do you focus on?
My formal pro bono representations are primarily for revision of corporate by-laws and policies, and counseling on endowment and charitable solicitation matters. The clients qualifying for such pro bono work are necessarily institutions that directly serve the poor or whose budgetary situations would prevent them from securing paid legal counsel for such a project.
What do you see on the horizon?
I switched from Trusts and Estates to nonprofit governance matters because at just my time of retirement the post-Sarbanes-Oxley period of heightened scrutiny of corporate governance had begun to involve nonprofits as well, which was soon ramped up and overtaken by very intrusive congressional and Treasury attention to the governance of tax exempt organizations. New York is in the end stage of a process to revamp its nonprofit laws. All of this requires nonprofit boards to review and revise their governing documents and policies and raise their members' understanding of the need for proper standards and compliance.