Matthew Morris

Matthew Morris

I focus my practice exclusively on advising nonprofit organizations.
  • Business Law
  • Indiana
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Biography

M.G. Morris Law focuses on one thing: helping nonprofits, their donors, and benefit corporations do more good in the world by preventing and solving their legal problems.

I grew up in the Midwest. After college I flew helicopters in the Navy for ten years before going to law school. I still serve my "one weekend a month" in Fort Worth, Texas. After law school and an appellate clerkship in Indiana, I joined an Indianapolis law firm helping employers navigate employment issues. During an unexpected one-year detour to Afghanistan, I provided advice to the Afghan government on anti-corruption efforts.

After coming home, I served for 11 years as an Assistant United States Attorney, trying cases before juries and arguing appeals. But my favorite part of being a prosecutor was building relationships with my clients, crime victims' advocates, and organizations that advocate for the powerless. After several years of thinking about ways that the legal industry can serve civil society better, I heard the question, "what would you do if you weren't afraid?"

The answer to that question, for me, was to establish a new kind of law firm. M.G. Morris Law, P.C., is a (mostly) virtual and (mostly) paperless firm. We're not small, we're agile: there is no committee that needs to approve taking on new clients or new matters. And using the newest law firm practice management technology, I can scale my efforts in ways that traditional legal practice might not. Inspired by the example of nonprofit lawyers in other states, I have adopted new billing models that move away from the billable hour model and focus on more predictable and cost-effective billing, including subscription services and flat fees, to remove barriers to both value and communication. The billable hour model rewards inefficiency (by me) and discourages communication (by you).

In our personal philanthropic life, my wife Amy and I are involved in animal rescue, blood cancer research, and disaster response.

Education
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
J.D. (2006)
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Honors: Cum laude
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Logo
Georgetown University
B.S.F.S. (1993) | International Politics
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Professional Experience
Founder and Principal
M.G. Morris Law
- Current
I help nonprofits and their donors avoid, minimize, and respond to legal issues so that they can do more good in the world by focusing on their missions.
Assistant United States Attorney
United States Department of Justice
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Advisor
NATO Training Mission Afghanistan
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Associate
Baker and Daniels LLP
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Law clerk to the Hon. Michael S. Kanne
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
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Publications
Articles & Publications
Treatment by Chiropractors under the Family Medical Leave Act
Indiana Employment Law Letter
Politics and Work, Part 1: Private Employers
Politics and Work, Part 2: Public Employers
Indiana Employment Law Letter
E-verify With Caution
Indiana Employment Law Letter
Hiding Amongst a Crowd and the Illegality of Deceptive Lighting
Naval Law Review
The Executive Role in Culturing Export Control Compliance
Michigan Law Review
Speaking Engagements
Use of Accomplice Witnesses in Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions, Basic Criminal Trial Advocacy Seminar
United States Department of Justice National Advocacy Center
A survey of the particular difficulties of using criminal accomplices in the investigation and trial of criminal cases.
Effect of Child Pornography Trafficking on Victims, Crimes Against Children, Teens and Women
California State Bar
Employment Document Retention Periods, Employment Records, Retention, Retrieval, and Destruction
Employment Law Institute
Use of Accomplice Witnesses in Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions, Basic Criminal Trial Advocacy Seminar
United States Department of Justice National Advocacy Center
Awards
A Night to Honor Service
Federal Bar Association
Professional Associations
Indiana State Bar  # 26510-29
Member
Current
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Indiana
Indiana Supreme Court
ID Number: 26510-29
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7th Circuit
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9th Circuit
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Fees
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Most services are offered under either a low, predictable monthly subscription for “outside general counsel” services, or flat fees for “outside counsel” services.
Practice Area
    Business Law
    Business Contracts, Business Dissolution, Business Finance, Business Formation, Mergers & Acquisitions, Partnership & Shareholder Disputes
Additional Practice Area
  • Nonprofits and exempt organizations
Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
  • Spanish: Written
Legal Answers
Q. I just started a non-profit LLC company so what are the next steps in legally keeping my company in good standing?
A: Congratulations on starting your nonprofit. You have chosen an unusual path by using the LLC formation method. One of the first things you will likely want to do is to file a "statement of information" with the Secretary of State -- usually within about 90 days from when you filed your organizing document. You can check the due date of the statement on the secretary's website. After that first SOI, you will need to file a statement of information every year to stay current with the state. Other than that, the question of what to do next really depends on what you want to accomplish. You mentioned that this LLC is going to operate as a nonprofit, so one thing that you might want to do is to apply for tax exemption from the federal and state governments. Doing that as an LLC is very tricky because LLCs as nonprofits are unusual. You will want to be sure that your articles of organization and your operating agreement both contain language that clearly limit the activities of the organization to comply with the IRS's guidance on obtaining tax exempt status. The activities must be limited to one of the purposes in Section 501(c) of the tax code, the articles and operating agreement have to prohibit the payment of any benefit to any individuals, and the assets of the LLC have be distributed to other tax exempt organizations when you dissolve. Once you have received tax exemption, if that is what you want, might need to register with the Attorney General's registry of charitable trusts (if you are a charity), or with the Secretary of State's political reform division (if you are a lobbying organization). You should talk to an attorney who advises nonprofits to get individualized advice, (which this is not.)
Q. What is code 1502
A: Even though your church is not a business, in California it was probably organized as a "Religious Corporation" under the California nonprofit corporations law. Corporations in California, even churches, are required to file a "Statement of Information" with the California Secretary of State's office. You are required to file the first one within 90 days of being incorporated, and then every year afterwards. The part of the law in California that requires a corporation to file a statement of information is California Corporations Code Section 1502. That is probably the section 1502 that is mentioned in the letter you received. Your church can file the form, or you can hire somebody to file it for you. Without seeing the letter that you received, it's not clear who the letter is from. There are some companies that will send you a letter that looks official, telling you that you need to file the statement of information, and they will offer to do it for you for a fee. That might be the type of letter you received. Or, you might have received a letter from the Secretary of State's office telling you that your form is overdue and that you owe a late fee. However, the current late fee for a nonprofit corporation is $50, so it is very unlikely that the letter you received asking for $243 came from the Secretary of State. You can also go to the California Secretary of State's website and search for your church in the database of corporations (https://bizfileonline.sos.ca.gov/search/business). It will tell you when the next Statement of Information is due and whether it is late. You can also contact an attorney who works with nonprofit corporations and show them a copy of the letter you have received. They can tell you what you should do next.
Q. Do we need to refile articles of incorporation or any other business docs when applying for NFP status for a for-profit
A: You will almost certainly need to re-draft your Articles of Incorporation if you want to convert from a for-profit corporation to a not-for-profit corporation. First, under Illinois law your new not-for-profit is required to have, as its purpose, one of the allowable purposes listed in the Illinois not-for-profit corporations law. The list of permissible purposes under Illinois law is found at 805 ILCS 105/103.05. The Illinois not-for-profit corporations law requires that you name one or more of those purposes in the articles of incorporation. Because your current for-profit corporation was probably not created for one of those purposes, your current articles of incorporation probably do not meet the requirements. Second, because you said that you intend to seek IRS Section 501(c)(3) status, you will want to be sure that your articles of incorporation contain three things that the IRS will look for before granting you Section 501(c)(3) recognition. [As an aside, people often use "not-for-profit" and "501(c)(3)" to mean the same thing, but they are not. They are two different things. A 501(c)(3) is a nonprofit (or, under Illinois law, a "not-for-profit"), but not all nonprofits are 501(c)(3)s.] First, your new articles should describe a purpose that shows the IRS that you are going to be doing charitable work. Second, your new articles need to have a clause prohibiting the organization's funds from "inuring to the benefit" of, or being distributed to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons (a "private inurement" clause). Third, your new articles need to have a clause that describes what happens to the assets of the not-for-profit if and when the organization wraps up (a "dissolution" clause). A lawyer who works closely with nonprofits can help you to be sure that your new articles of incorporation will satisfy both the Illinois Secretary of State and the IRS.
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Websites & Blogs
Website
The Firm's Website
Contact & Map
M.G. Morris Law, P.C.
55 Monument Circle
Seventh Floor
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Telephone: (317) 296-4584
Monday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 8 AM - 5 PM (Today)
Thursday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Friday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Notice: By appointment.