Lisa A. Runquist, Attorney at Law

“Caring for those who care: Keeping nonprofits safe and out of trouble!”

Lisa has practiced law with both nonprofit organizations and business organizations since her admission to the Minnesota Bar in 1977 and to the California Bar in 1978.  Lisa is a graduate from Hamline University, where she received her B.A., with distinction, in Philosophy, and the University of Minnesota Law School.

Lisa is a prolific writer and author. She is the author of a guidebook, The ABCs of Nonprofits, first published in April 2005, with the 2nd edition published in 2015 by the American Bar Association, Business Law Section. (Click here to read a review by Stephen Nill, founder of CharityChannel.) The ABCs of Nonprofits has now been released in Spanish as well! Lisa is also the principal author and editor of the Guide to Representing Religious Organizations, published in February 2009 by the American Bar Association, Business Law Section. She writes and speaks on a regular basis, has contributed extensively to professional literature regarding nonprofit organizations, and is regarded as an expert in the area of nonprofit organization law.  Lisa was the first recipient of the Outstanding Lawyer Award by the ABA Business Law Section, A Nonprofit Lawyers Award, and the first to receive both the Outstanding Lawyer Award AND the Vanguard Award.

Lisa has been AV Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell for over 25 years, and has been on this list of Southern California Super Lawyers for the past 5 years.

Click here to see Lisa’s full resume.

When she’s not working, writing or speaking about nonprofit matters, Lisa trains and competes regularly with her Standard Poodles, Zippy and Marley, in agility, obedience, rally, tracking, lure coursing, and other dog events around Southern California and across the country.  Zippy and Marley are also registered Therapy Dogs.  Her newest up-and- coming star, Jack, is a Lagotto Romagnolo (Italian Truffle Hunting Dog) an ancient but rare breed who has an impressive work ethic and ability to figure things out.  

Click here to see more about the Runquick dogs.

Lisa’s Blog:




  • Admitted to Minnesota Bar on April 15, 1977 (withdrawn from membership)
  • Admitted to California Bar on June 23, 1978
  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell since 1991
  • Southern California Super Lawyer, 2013 – 2019

Professional Experience

Almost 40 years as a transactional lawyer, both with nonprofit organizations (public benefit, mutual benefit and religious corporations, unincorporated associations, limited liability companies, trusts) and business organizations (corporations, partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies)

Skilled in forming, maintaining, merging and dissolving organizations, writing contracts, negotiating, dealing with regulatory agencies, drafting securities offerings, advising clients, analyzing problems, and constructing solutions.

Working knowledge of franchise law, intellectual property law, employment law, tax law, and constitutional law (first amendment)

Able to research, write briefs, and supervise ongoing litigation, although not a litigator. Has served as an expert witness in several cases involving nonprofits. Served as a court
appointed receiver in a securities fraud case, at the request of the California Department of Corporations.

Experienced in drafting legislation.
Adjunct Professor of Law at Trinity Law School.
Adjunct Professor at Shiloh University.

Appointed by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability to serve on the Panel of Legal Experts for the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious
Organizations (2011-2014). The commission has reviewed and provided input to Congress on major accountability and policy issues affecting religious and other nonprofit organizations.


1999 August – First recipient of the Outstanding Lawyer Award, a Nonprofit Lawyers Award presented by the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section

2010 – First person to win both the Outstanding Lawyer Award, and the Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement presented by the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section

Selected Publications

Author, “ABC’s of Nonprofits,” American Bar Association, Business Law Section, 2015 (2nd edition)

Author, “El ABC de las Organizaciones sin Fines de Lucro,” (Spanish edition of ABC’s), 2016

Editor and Principal Author, “Guide to Representing Religious Organizations,” American Bar Association, Business Law Section, 2009

Author, Chapter 20, “Corporate Changes” Advising California Nonprofit Corporations, 3d Edition, Continuing Education of the Bar, California, 2010 – 2017

Author, “Representing the Good Guys,” GPSolo Magazine, September/October 2017

Author, “Taking the Right Steps to Establish a Retirement Plan,” Church Law & Tax Report, November/December 2017

Author, “When a Nonprofit Corporation is Insolvent…,” Business Law News, The State Bar of California, Issue Number 2, 2016

Author, “Churches, Schools, and the Unvaccinated Movement,” Church Law & Tax Report, September/October 2015

Editor, “Nonprofit Resources,” American Bar Association, Business Law Section, 2007

Author for articles in “Nonprofit Governance: The Executive ‘ s Guide, Second Edition”,

American Bar Association, Business Law Section, 2002
– Basic Corporate And Tax Aspects Of Religious Organizations
– Nonprofit Debt Securities And State Regulation
– Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 – An Imperfect Solution

Author, Chapter 23, “Public Benefit, Mutual Benefit, and Religious Corporations”, California Transactions Forms, Bancroft Whitney, 1996

Author, “A Job Description for Directors”, Business Law Today, Vol. 4, No 2, Nov/Dec 1994

Author, “The Night the Sky Fell: Directors of Nonprofits Continue at Risk,” Business Law News, Vol. 15. No. 2, Spring 1994

Author, “Responsibilities and Duties of a Director of a Nonprofit Organization”, Maxwell-MacMillan Charitable Giving and Solicitation Service, 1991

Co-author “The Government’s Role in the Purification of Religious Organizations”, Pepperdine L. Rev., 1980


American Bar Association • California Bar Association • ABA Business Law Section • ABA Section on Taxation • Business Law Section of the California Bar • Taxation Section of the California Bar • Former member of Christian Legal Society • Center for Law and Religious Freedom

Professional Committees

California Bar

Business Law Section

Nonprofit and Unincorporated Organizations Committee

• Member 1985-1992, 1993-96, 1997 to 2010

• Chair 1989-91, 2006-2008

Executive Committee member 2008 to 2011

Programs and Publications Subcommittee

• Chair, 2010 to 2011

Taxation Section

Exempt Organizations Committee

• Member 1997 to present

American Bar Association (ABA)

ABA, Business Law Section
Member of Council; (1995 to 1999)

Committee on Nonprofit Corporations, 1986 to present (Chair 1991 to 1995)

Subcommittee on Current Developments in Nonprofit Corporation Law, 1989 to present (Chair 1989-91)

Subcommittee on Religious Organizations, 1989 to present (Chair 1987-91; 1996 -97)

Subcommittee on Legal Guidebook for Directors, 1986 to 2009

Subcommittee on Model Nonprofit Corporation Act, 1999 to present

Corporate Laws Committee, 1999 to 2005

Subcommittee on Guidebook for Directors of Closely Held Corporations, 1999 to 2004 (Chair, 2000 to 2004)

Task Force on MBCA Model Forms (Chair, 2005)

Subcommittee on Entity Rationalization, 1999 to 2005

Partnerships and Unincorporated Business Organizations Committee 1987 to present

State Regulation of Securities Committee 1988 to 2006

Ad Hoc Committee on Information Technology, 1997 to 2003 (Chair 1997-98; Co-chair 1998 to 2002)

Liaison to Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems (1997 to 2000)

Liaison to ALI/ABA Principles of the Law of Nonprofit Organizations Project, 2003 to present

ABA, Section of Taxation
Exempt Organizations Committee, 1987 to present

Subcommittee on Religious Organizations, 1989 to present (Chair 1995 to 1997, 2005 to 2009)

Non-(c)(3) Exempt Organizations Subcommittee (Co-Chair 1997 to 2003)

State and Local Regulation Subcommittee (Co-Chair 2003 to 2005)

ABA, General
Standing Committee on Solo and Small Firm Practitioners, 2004 to 2005)

ABA Advisor to the NCCUSL Committee to Amend the Uniform Unincorporated Association Act (2006 to 2008)

ABA Advisor to the NCCUSL Model Protection of Charitable Assets Act Drafting Committee (2009 to 2011)

Board Memberships

Editorial Advisory Board, Church Law & Tax Group at Christianity Today, 2012 to present

Advisory Board, California State University, Los Angeles, Continuing Education Accounting and Taxation Programs, 1995 to present

Advisory Board, The Exempt Organization Tax Review, 1990 to 2010

Editorial Board, Business Law Today, 1995 to 2002

Publications Board, ABA Business Law Section, 1997 to 2001

Trustee, Shiloh University, 2007 to present

Director, Financial Planning Ministry, 2007 to 2008

Director, Christian Management Association, 1983-1989

Director, Southern California Baroque Association, 1986-1988


University of Minnesota Law School, graduated 12/76

Degree: Juris Doctor


University of Minnesota Student Leadership and Service Recognition Award


Christian Legal Society President

Minnesota Women Lawyers

Law School Teaching Improvement Committee (student/faculty)

Center for Law and Religious Freedom Advisory Boar