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Religious Institutions

Sidley’s Religious Institutions group combines the broad resources of the firm with specific experience in the issues that uniquely affect religious institutions. For decades, we have assisted a diverse array of religious organizations, including churches, religious schools and universities, religious broadcasters, religious healthcare institutions and religiously-affiliated philanthropic and community organizations. Our lawyers often have had a leading role in shaping the law governing these institutions.

We believe that effective representation of religious organizations requires a depth of experience, not only with the constitutional and statutory protections for religion generally, but also with many other features of the legal landscape that affect these institutions’ ability to carry out their missions. Effective representation also requires an appreciation of the unique relationship between these institutions and their members.

In meeting these challenges, Sidley’s experience in representing religious institutions is enhanced by the firm’s preeminent national practices in such areas as trial and appellate litigation, constitutional law, labor and employment law, healthcare, higher education law, administrative law, land-use and zoning, intellectual property and communications. We look for creative solutions that not only will prevent potential liability, but also provide maximum latitude to the institution to pursue its long-term goals while preserving its distinctive religious mission and standards.

In recent years, we have had the opportunity to apply and develop these skills in representing a number of religious institutions at both the national and local level. For example, we have represented such institutions as the Catholic Archdioceses of Chicago and Los Angeles, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, The Salvation Army, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University, Texas Christian University, the Kamehameha Schools, Loma Linda University and Medical Center, Association of Christian Schools International and Maharishi International University.

Particularly relevant experience includes: 

  • Trial and Appellate Litigation 
  • Legislation 
  • Land Use and Zoning 
  • Labor and Employment 
  • Transactions and Organizational Issues 
  • Broadcast Regulation 
  • Trusts and Estates 
  • Tax 
  • Employee Benefits 
  • Affiliated Colleges and Universities 
  • Affiliated Healthcare Institutions