Charity law covers the rules relating to the setting up and operation of charities and non-profit organisations. It can be an ideal way to combine a career in law with a passion for anything charitable, such as the arts and culture, the environment, human rights, working with young people and sport.
What does a charity lawyer do?
Charity lawyers either work for a firm specialising in this area or in-house at larger charities.
This type of work includes working on wills and trusts, advising on governance and managing charitable statuses and relationships with the Charity Commission. Charity lawyers often deal with enquiries regarding tax and VAT, inheritance law, data protection, contracts, mergers and takeovers, partnerships, fundraising, political activities and campaigning, trading, gaming and lotteries.
These lawyers may also deal with other areas that affect not-for-profit organisations such as employment law, dealing with land, intellectual property, financial services and media enquiries.
What skills are required?
You need empathy and an interest in the charity sector. Charity lawyers are likely to be generalist rather than a specialist to cover the wide-ranging needs of charities.
It is also useful for a lawyer working in this area to be familiar with the law in areas in which they operate such as education, health and social care.
Keep up-to-date with charity news on the Third Sector website and The Guardian newspaper has a voluntary sector on their website.