Christian Legal Society/ CLS

Summary

Christian Legal Society ("CLS") is a national network of attorneys, judges, law students, professors, and lay people, with local chapters of attorneys and law students located in almost every state. CLS helps lawyers to integrate their faith in Christ with their professional responsibilities and reaches and teaches law students across the country to obey Jesus' age-old command "to do justice with the love of God." (Luke 11:42). CLS sponsors local and national conferences for attorneys and law students. It also has established the Center for Law and Religious Freedom to protect and promote the inalienable and constitutional rights of free exercise of religion and sanctity of human life. It provides consultant services, researches current issues, publishes a quarterly journal, and provides strategic litigation support at appellant and trial court levels. CLS is a nonprofit organization and contributions to it are fully deductible to the extent allowed by law. In addition, it is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).


Contact information

Mailing address:
8001 Braddock Avenue
Suite 300
Springfield, VA 22151-2151

Website: www.clsnet.org

Phone: (703) 642-1070

Email: clshq@clsnet.org


Organization details

EIN: 366101090

CEO/President: David Nammo

Chairman: H. Robert Showers

Board size: 19

Founder: Paul Barnard and Henry Luke Brinks

Year founded: 1961

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 12/31

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1982


Purpose

Christian Legal Society ("CLS") is a national network of attorneys, judges, law students, professors, and lay people, with local chapters of attorneys and law students located in almost every state. CLS helps lawyers to integrate their faith in Christ with their professional responsibilities and reaches and teaches law students across the country to obey Jesus' age-old command "to do justice with the love of God." (Luke 11:42). CLS sponsors local and national conferences for attorneys and law students. It also has established the Center for Law and Religious Freedom to protect and promote the inalienable and constitutional rights of free exercise of religion and sanctity of human life. It provides consultant services, researches current issues, publishes a quarterly journal, and provides strategic litigation support at appellant and trial court levels.

CLS is a nonprofit organization and contributions to it are fully deductible to the extent allowed by law. In addition, it is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).


Mission statement

Christian Legal Society uses the following to communicate its mission:

To be the national grassroots network of lawyers and law students, committed to proclaiming, loving and serving Jesus Christ, through all we do and say in the practice of law, and advocating biblical conflict reconciliation, public justice, religious freedom and the sanctity of human life.


Statement of faith

Christian Legal Society's Statement of Faith is:

One God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

The Deity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, God's only Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; His vicarious death for our sins through which we receive eternal life; His bodily resurrection and personal return.

The presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.

The Bible as the inspired Word of God.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Advocacy

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating197 of 42310 of 18
Fund acquisition rating283 of 42311 of 18
Resource allocation rating161 of 4238 of 18
Asset utilization rating181 of 42311 of 18

Financial ratios

Funding ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20172016201520142013
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Total contributions
7%11%14%16%12%14%
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total revenue
6%7%8%7%6%8%
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Total revenue
95%60%58%47%53%54%
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total expenses
6%8%8%9%7%8%
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
Total revenue
5%40%42%53%47%46%
 
Operating ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20172016201520142013
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Total expenses
83%85%84%84%86%85%
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Total revenue
99%84%94%86%93%97%
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Total revenue
81%72%79%72%80%82%
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Total revenue
1%16%6%14%7%3%
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
Net assets
3%31%14%44%32%23%
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
Total expenses
10%7%8%7%7%7%
 
Investing ratiosMedian measure
for all ministries
in MW database
20172016201520142013
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total assets
1.301.522.032.243.043.24
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
1.541.051.051.091.151.23
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
2.541.602.142.443.483.99
 
Liquidity ratiosMedian measure
for all ministries
in MW database
20172016201520142013
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
8.9612.4410.357.213.181.55
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
0.110.080.100.140.310.64
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
4.076.915.074.232.371.07
 
Solvency ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20172016201520142013
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Total assets
10%9%11%16%28%53%
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Debt /
Total assets
0%0%0%0%0%0%
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
Total expenses
63%60%44%38%24%15%

Financials

Balance sheet
 
Assets20172016201520142013
Cash$393,686$256,946$159,994$107,476$160,415
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$476,515$359,949$381,073$226,029$161,606
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$870,201$616,895$541,067$333,505$322,021
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$38,197$25,565$42,607$41,112$65,964
Other long-term assets$8,138$8,240$7,239$7,559$7,879
Total long-term assets$46,335$33,805$49,846$48,671$73,843
Total assets$916,536$650,700$590,913$382,176$395,864
 
Liabilities20172016201520142013
Payables and accrued expenses$50,428$35,080$47,161$85,081$192,266
Other current liabilities$19,532$24,523$27,862$19,763$14,883
Total current liabilities$69,960$59,603$75,023$104,844$207,149
Debt$0$0$0$0$0
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$9,748$13,895$18,911$1,288$1,288
Total long-term liabilities$9,748$13,895$18,911$1,288$1,288
Total liabilities$79,708$73,498$93,934$106,132$208,437
 
Net assets20172016201520142013
Unrestricted$800,236$568,774$471,907$254,948$162,119
Temporarily restricted$36,592$8,428$25,072$21,096$25,308
Permanently restricted$0$0$0$0$0
Net assets$836,828$577,202$496,979$276,044$187,427
 
Revenues and expenses
 
Revenue20172016201520142013
Total contributions$984,703$812,041$727,346$659,321$722,846
Program service revenue$270,498$211,056$415,472$183,749$194,427
Membership dues$384,393$362,675$390,088$388,331$384,697
Investment income$0$0$0$0$0
Other revenue$10,544$14,108$10,387$17,222$25,197
Total other revenue$665,435$587,839$815,947$589,302$604,321
Total revenue$1,650,138$1,399,880$1,543,293$1,248,623$1,327,167
 
Expenses20172016201520142013
Program services$1,180,765$1,109,742$1,109,573$996,765$1,091,684
Management and general$101,208$99,217$99,097$83,234$87,434
Fundraising$108,539$110,698$113,688$80,007$104,736
Total expenses$1,390,512$1,319,657$1,322,358$1,160,006$1,283,854
 
Change in net assets20172016201520142013
Surplus (deficit)$259,626$80,223$220,935$88,617$43,313
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$259,626$80,223$220,935$88,617$43,313

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.


History

It all began with a late-night conversation in 1959 when Paul Barnard and Henry Luke Brinks talked about the need for a national association of Christian lawyers. Former Wheaton College classmates, Barnard, a law professor at Stetson University, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Brinks, an attorney in the Chicago firm of Bryon, Hume, Groen and Clement, had arrived independently at the same conclusion: Christian lawyers had no network for sharing their problems and finding fellowship. Pastors and church groups did not know how to locate Christian lawyers who were willing and able to offer legal counsel from a Christian perspective. To survey interest in the project, Barnard sent out "a flock of letters" to friends, friends of friends and other people he thought might be interested. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Brinks and his uncle, Gerrit P. Groen, also a Chicago attorney, began meeting with several other Christian lawyers for lunch and fellowship on a monthly basis. Having established this base, and knowing from Barnard's mail survey that substantial national interest existed in a Christian legal society, the time-consuming task of preparing for incorporation was begun. Naming Paul Barnard their president and appointing Brinks, Groen and Elmer Johnson, a Chicago lawyer, as the first board of directors, the founding "Chicago chapter" filed the Articles of Incorporation for the Christian Legal Society on October 19,1961.

Eager to move forward, CLS launched it first membership drive in June 1962. Within weeks, the organization had 40 charter members, and President Barnard had organized the first CLS annual meeting, a gathering held at the American Bar Association convention in San Francisco on August 4th of that year. Glenn outlined an impressive vision for CLS. He challenged each person present to do their part to enable CLS to provide fellowship for Christian attorneys; to serve as a witness to the legal profession; and to present a platform from which Christian attorneys could speak as a united voice on social, moral and ethical issues.

And as Gerrit Groen, who was elected the new CLS President during the meeting, reported in his September 1962 newsletter, the tone of the event set a precedent for love and high standards of care that still exist within CLS today. Further encouragement came from the wide use of a news release announcing CLS' birth. Distributed to both religious and legal media, the release resulted in both critical and appreciative coverage. Religious publications such as The Banner commented that CLS "could give leadership in facing a good many problems that a Christian deals with and talks about these days" (February 8, 1963), but the dominant attitude of the organized bar was less receptive. Notably, Christianity Today quoted Maurice Brooks, president of the Abilene (Texas) Bar Association, as saying, "Religious beliefs have nothing to do with the legal profession" (February 1, 1963 Today, as then, CLS remains committed to the idea that the rule of law is a gift of God, and the practice of law is to be pursued daily as a Christian ministry.

Under President Groen, CLS grew to 100 members and established local chapters in Chicago, Dallas and Seattle. To facilitate the formation of these chapters and of chapters in other strategic cities, CLS elected a national council (board of directors) with representatives spread from New Jersey to Illinois to California. Appropriately, President Gerrit Groen called these chapters "the building blocks of CLS;' reporting that "a regularly scheduled, once-a-month luncheon meeting...is proving to be a simple, effective and enjoyable format." Although today the format for CLS fellowship varies from small early morning weekly prayer groups to the annual national and regional conferences, the biblical principle of "not forsaking the meeting together, but encouraging one another in love and good works" continues to work well in the more than 90 attorney and 165 law student chapters across the country that are now affiliated or becoming affiliated with CLS.

Today under the guidance of Director of Law Student Ministries, Charlie Emmerich, this project has now grown to encompass more than 850 law students on 165 of the 179 ABA or state-accredited law school campuses in the United States. While CLS did not change its name, today it is well-regarded and highly respected by all faith communities in the United States, particularly the Jewish community, as one of the nation's most experienced defenders of religious freedom for all Americans. Indeed, CLS serves today as the co-chair of the Task Force on the Religious Freedom Restoration in the Several States. In the process, CLS has found by protecting the religious freedoms of all, we have many opportunities to witness to the life-saving gospel of Jesus Christ by our words and actions. It is with this same hope and prayer that CLS now extends itself to assist the truly needy, protect the sanctity of human life, and reach out to all law students in America. In this way, CLS endeavors by its actions and the example of its members to have its name "Christian Legal Society" be understood to mean the "Christ-following justice seeking band of committed friends."

In 1976, CLS established the Center for Law and Religious Freedom (CLRF) at the urging of Christopher Hall, a California attorney. Hall saw the need for Christian lawyers to be better equipped to defend our religious liberties, which are threatened by an increasingly secularized society. Twenty-two years after its founding, CLRF is now the well-established "advocacy" arm of CLS not only in the church/state arena, but also in the struggle to protect the sanctity of innocent human life. Today CLRF not only does appellate advocacy, but also provides public education and legislative counsel in Congress and various state legislatures. Since 1996, CLRF staff attorneys have also been providing direct trial court and administrative agency representation for persons or organizations whose religious liberties are at stake. These services are now provided through CLS' subsidiary public interest law firm, CLRF Advocates, Inc.

Of equal significance, was the 1979 founding of the Christian Conciliation Service (CCS), an outreach of CLS that has attracted the attention of pastors and lay leaders across the nation. Developed under the leadership of C. Fred Cassity, who served as CLS President from 1984-1985, CCS developed the biblical theology, training and mediation/arbitration procedures needed to equip lawyers and non-lawyers to bring justice and reconciliation to parties at conflict within their churches and communities without the need of litigation. Today this ministry, now known as Peacemaker Ministries, continues stronger than ever under the leadership of CLS member Ken Sande.

During the 1980s, CLS' in-house journals also grew. The Quarterly replaced The Christian Lawyer as the lead CLS publication, and in 1981, CLS launched the Religious Freedom Reporter, a journal providing accurate information on church/state issues. By 1986, the Religious Freedom Reporter (RFR) was on the shelves of most law school libraries in the United States. Today the RFR continues to be published through Campbell University School of Law, as edited by Lynn Buzzard. The Quarterly again became the Christian Lawyer in the Fall of 1998, and is now published in hard copy (The Christian Lawyer Briefly), on the internet (The Christian Lawyer E-Zine), and in audio-tape versions (The Christian Lawyer Digest).

During the eight year period of 1988 through 1994, CLS continued to pursue its mission even as it struggled to maintain its momentum in a period of slow membership growth, financial weakness, leadership transition, and the need for some organizational restructuring. In 1994, CLS' current Executive Director, Sam Casey (a/k/a "2d Samuel"), was appointed to develop and pursue a strategic plan developed by CLS' Board of Directors to grow and enhance CLS mission into the 21st Century. By 1999, while maintaining its programs using a reduced staff, CLS was pleased to have retired all of its long-term indebtedness, operated with a surplus of revenues over expenses for 3 successive years with an overhead to program expense ratio of less than 25%, and restructured itself into three ministry divisions with a full-time director heading each ministry division under the overall supervision of the executive director. In 1999, CLS added an attorney and a paralegal to its Center for Law & Religious Freedom to handle CLRF's growing legislative and trial-level work, a Membership Ministries Director to implement CLS' Membership Goals 2001 Plan, and a Manager of Membership Information Services to handle CLS' growing internet-based membership ministry services.

Consequently, as CLS proceeds into the 21st century, we thank our Lord for His great faithfulness and we pray he will provide the grace and provision CLS needs to grow again in membership and service to its members and the community, with Christ's vision for the future of legal practice: Doing Justice with the Love of God.


Program accomplishments

Christian Legal Society accomplishments and programs include some of the following:

Membership Ministries: Facilitates a means of society, fellowship and nurturing among Christian lawyers, judges, law professors and students, helping them to view law vocationally as an opportunity for Christian witness, service and ministry.

Conferences: Sponsors local and national conferences for attorneys and law students.

Center for Law and Religious Freedom: Protects and promotes the inalienable and constitutional rights of free exercise of religion and sanctity of human life, provides consultative services, researches current issues, publishes a quarterly journal, and provides strategic litigation support at appellant and trial court levels.

Public Ministries: Promotes the training and certification of Christian lawyers in Biblical reconciliation techniques and conflict resolution. Encourages members to provide legal aid, both individually and through local chapters, in active cooperation with social service providers like the International Union of Gospel Missions, the Salvation Army or Catholic Social Services.

Law Student Ministries: Establishes CLS-affiliated student chapters at law schools and CLS-affiliated student chapters at law schools and colleges throughout the United States. Provides mentors and resources to foster spiritual growth, outreach through public service, and integration of legal practice and Christian faith.


Needs