Trade Associations

Trade associations, in addition to advocating for policy and regulatory changes on behalf of their members, must efficiently address their own day-to-day business and management issues in a way that minimizes risks to the association and all members. Trade associations that are headquartered in Washington, D.C., must also comply with the recent overhaul of the District of Columbia's Non-Profit Corporations Act, which has made an already complicated situation even more complex.

At Crowell & Moring, full-service trade association practice represents several dozen international, national, and local nonprofit organizations on a range of ongoing matters, as well as on unique, time-sensitive projects. Our clients include industry-leading trade associations, professional societies, foundations, education groups, philanthropic organizations, and other entities. Taken together, these groups serve as advocates for thousands of well-known corporations and individual members active in the aerospace, agriculture, aviation, health care, energy, manufacturing, mining and natural resources, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, steel, and other sectors, whose products and services are essential to the nation’s economic growth and productivity.

We regularly serve as outside general counsel and principal outside counsel, and also serve as advisors on specific, industry-related public policy issues. We draw on our broad experience across numerous legal disciplines, extensive experience with the federal government, and offices across the United States and in Europe to provide counsel on virtually any legal question that may arise. We are well versed in the unique concerns of our clients and develop creative solutions that address their specific needs and circumstances.

Among other areas, our trade association group advises clients in general corporate matters such as formation of a nonprofit entity, governance, organizational issues, compliance, and operational and transactional issues. We regularly advise association leadership on the fiduciary duties of directors and officers, and help develop appropriate compensation and benefits arrangements. Member relationships are a critical component of a trade association's mission, and we help develop and implement communication plans and advise on other interactions with members and constituencies.

As a D.C. firm with extensive regulatory experience, we regularly advise trade association clients on issues such as full compliance with the antitrust laws and other regulations affecting trade associations. Our tax lawyers provide comprehensive counsel on federal, state, and local tax issues, including obtaining and maintaining tax-free status, and help resolve disputes with taxing bodies. We also help clients keep abreast of new legislative and regulatory developments relating to lobbying rules, unrelated business taxable income and other matters.