The Campbell Law Firm is a boutique law firm that serves as a trusted in-house legal advisor to brave grant-making nonprofits, movements, philanthropies, and philanthropists to support movements and disrupt cycles of systemic injustice and inequity.

Who We Are

We show up differently.

The Campbell Law Firm (TCLF) is a social-impact focused law firm that works with brave nonprofits, philanthropies, ultra high net worth individuals, and movements. We offer high-touch counsel to brave systems-change grant makers around the world.

We have provided years of legal advice on place-based, regional, national, and international projects and matters. We leverage our network of experienced attorneys with decades of programmatic, governance, and operational experience to help clients achieve their impact goals. Our Founder and Managing Attorney, A. Nicole Campbell, is passionate about using her legal training, operations and strategy expertise, and knowledge of nonprofit law to think creatively to transform the way organizations work and learn from their work.

Nic's lived experience as a Black woman and immigrant working to effect social justice change informs TCLF's approach, our clients, and our work. Incorporating Nic's marginalized experience in our approach is our differentiator.

TCLF offers General Counsel Retainers, nonprofit formation and exemption support, and grant-making assessments.

Our General Counsel retainer is at the core of our services and highlights how important thought partnership and relationships are to the way we work. Our nonprofit formation and exemption services allow us to operationalize brave visions and our grant-making assessments allow us to strengthen equitable strategies for grant makers.

General Counsel Retainer

Legal Counsel tailored to your needs.

For a flat monthly fee, we conduct a legal assessment, create a legal strategic plan based on your goals and needs, and provide you with quality ongoing legal advice. The retainer fee is aligned with your organizational budget. Services offered within the General Counsel Retainer include:

  • Gift / Grant Agreement Review & Negotiation
  • Gift / Grant Agreement Drafting
  • Contract Review & Negotiation
  • Contract Drafting
  • Complex Structuring
  • Day-to-Day Advice
  • Management of Subject Matter Experts
  • Monthly Strategy Calls
  • Unlimited Email Inquiries

Will the General Counsel Retainer work for me?

You are probably used to working with an attorney by guessing how quickly or slowly they will work on a matter instead of exclusively focusing on the outcome. As a result, you probably dread having to pick up the phone to call your outside counsel because you are uncertain about the cost of a call, an email, or even making small talk.

After all, can you really afford to develop a relationship with your attorney when they are billing you by the hour? You want a partner – someone to help you think through those thorny issues that are an intricate mix of business and legal complexities and you want a problem solver who brings a ton of legal expertise and experience with nonprofits and philanthropies.

If you have thought of any of these things, you are a great candidate for the General Counsel Retainer.

The General Counsel retainer allows you to partner with TCLF. TCLF does not have transaction-based relationships with clients; we have meaningful relationships. You can reach out to us at anytime and, most importantly, depend on us to know your organization, your work, and provide you with the legal support and advice, and thought partnership and leadership you want. We specialize in providing peace of mind.

Let’s build a meaningful relationship — schedule a call with us to see how we can support your work.

Private Coaching and Advice

We provide private coaching and advice for in-house counsel and other professionals responsible for legal compliance or grant making to help them build out their roles, teams, and portfolios within the organization.

Speaking Engagements, Trainings, and Workshops

Members of the Build Up Companies team can be booked for speaking engagements discussing Governance, Grant Making and Management, Organizational Structuring, and Charitable Giving / Investing.

The audiences for these engagements range from intimate, private conversations among Board members, investors, or philanthropists to groups of program and executive teams to hundreds of grant-making and grants management professionals.

We also conduct workshops and design learning modules in each of these advice areas for staff, Board members, Executive leadership, and individuals interested in learning about any aspect of that advice area.

Finally, we conduct trainings for operations, grants management, and legal teams within philanthropies to help them design training plans and modules for staff, priority plans for the team, and policy and process assessments.


Nonprofit Formation and Exemption

Formation of brave nonprofits from concept phase to U.S. tax-exempt status.

The Campbell Law Firm guides clients through the formation and exemption process by serving as a thought partner and problem solver. We advise and provide counsel for the formation of U.S. Section 501(c)(3) and Section 501(c)(4) organizations. We also stand up these entities by centering equity and historically marginalized communities during the process.

How can The Campbell Law Firm help?

We know the process – We will guide you through the process, from concept phase to the acquisition of U.S. tax exemption, and help establish your nonprofit for long-term sustainability.

Our team shows up differently. TCLF does not have transaction-based relationships with clients; we have meaningful relationships. You can reach out to us at anytime and, most importantly, depend on us to know your organization, your work, and provide you with the legal support and advice, and thought partnership and leadership you need.

The Tax Exemption Process

Programmatic Activities

We will work closely with you to articulate your past, planned, and future activities and grant-making strategy, as well as your ability to comply with applicable law based on your grant making, proposed activities, and risk management protocols.

State Registration & Exemptions

We will register you as a charity in the state in which you plan to operate so that you can do business and solicit charitable contributions, and will also file for exemption from that state’s corporate franchise, sales, and other taxes.


We will review your governance structure and provide a clear framework to evidence adequate oversight over your operations and work.

Budgeting & Finance

We will help prepare your current organizational budget and a projected multi-year organizational budget, including itemization where necessary, as well as your most recent balance sheet.

Engagement & Follow Up

We will respond to any and all inquiries from the Internal Revenue Service about your tax exemption application and accompanying materials.

Engagement Overview

Throughout our engagement, we will have regular check-ins to review our progress and discuss next-steps.

Our process is accomplished in three phases, after an initial planning phase.


Planning Phase

  • Kick-off meeting
  • Initial document review (Diligence)
  • Discussion of vision and mission
  • Discussion of U.S. formation and exemption decision
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3

Let’s build a meaningful relationship — schedule a call with us to see how we can support your work.

Grant-Making Assessment

Assessment of grant-making and grants management programs, policies, and processes.

As part of our grant-making assessment, we review your grant-making materials; have conversations with relevant grants management and grant-making staff; and then provide a summary of this review, including strengths, gaps, and recommendations of any changes that need to be made within your grants process. Ultimately, we discuss this review with you and other relevant members of your team to determine how to support your grant making moving forward and ensure it is legally compliant.

By conducting this assessment, TCLF helps clients successfully incorporate innovation, risk management, and structuring into grant making.

I love using my legal training and expertise to help brave philanthropists, philanthropies, and nonprofits build capacity so they have the ability to transform outcomes for vulnerable communities and interrupt cycles of injustice and inequity. If you think bravely, we can help you change the world.

A. Nicole Campbell
A. Nicole Campbell

A. Nicole Campbell - Founder, Build Up Companies

Sign up to receive our newsletter of hot topics in building brave nonprofits and philanthropies as well as important updates about our work and the amazing organizations and individuals with whom we work. We are so much more than a mailing list. We are a community of brave individuals and organizations ready to transform life outcomes.