Nonprofit Organization & Cooperative Association Law

Thinking of forming a nonprofit organization? Or applying to the IRS for tax-exempt status? It's common for social entrepreneurs to start the process and then realize that they need a lawyer to figure out what's next. Instead of diverting your attention from what you are good at, it's often easier to hire a lawyer as early as possible so that the formation and tax-exemption issues do not distract entrepreneurs and boards of directors from their passions and expertise, and so that documents do not have to be amended and refiled when an attorney becomes involved to help with the more complicated steps. Elsner Law offers the following package of services on a flat fee basis: 

  1. Assisting in naming the organization. 

  2. Drafting and filing articles of incorporation. 

  3. Drafting and/or revising organization bylaws with the board of directors so that the bylaws are easily understandable by non-lawyers, comply with state law, and satisfy tax-exempt requirements. 

  4. Completing and filing IRS Form 1023 to obtain tax-exempt status with the IRS.

  5. Registering as a charitable organization so that you may lawfully solicit donations.


For a quote and to schedule an initial consult via phone, email


Gretchen, a former employee of large and small nonprofits and a former nonprofit board president, assists nonprofit organizations and cooperative associations in starting and managing their affairs. She can assist philanthropists in making social investment decisions with their charitable giving. Nonprofit organizational leaders have given positive reviews to her workshop on navigating non-profit advocacy, hosted by the Santa Fe Community Foundation. 

Food Law

Forming a small business? Looking to protect your ideas, understand contracts for financing or commercial space, hire a team in compliance with employment law? It is nearly always more cost and time effective to hire an attorney to prevent a legal problem instead of waiting until there is something that needs urgent attention because it festered. Elsner Law works with small business owners to determine the right entity for a business, name the business, form the business with state government, trademark and copyright intellectual property like logos and published articles, truthfully market products, correctly categorize workers as contractors or employees, and generally whatever is needed to allow small business entrepreneurs to avoid unpleasant legal surprises down the road.

Gretchen is committed to promoting the local food economy and sustainable food systems by assisting local farmers, producers, and small businesses to grow and achieve their goals.  She completed the Food Business School's Food Venture Formation & Financing class, and attended the Michigan State University College of Law Food Law Current Issues Seminar in 2016.  Locally, she has presented a legal workshop under the auspices of Delicious New Mexico to food entrepreneurs. She also represents national nonprofit organizations pursuing impact litigation to address the harms caused by factory farming.    

Election Law

As general counsel to one of New Mexico's major political parties, Gretchen works on a full-range of political and legal issues, including fast-paced litigation to resolve disputes that arise during election season. Gretchen represented a candidate in New Mexico's first statewide automatic recount and argued in front of the New Mexico Supreme Court for strong and fair recount procedures. She also represented the state's largest political party in front of the New Mexico Supreme Court to advocate for an accessible election during the coronavirus pandemic. Gretchen has represented citizens suing a former governor to enforce open government laws and to protect the citizens' rights to be meaningfully involved in the political process.

Practice Areas
  • Food Law

  • Election Law

  • Nonprofit Organizational Law

  • Litigation

  • Appeals

  • Legislative & Administrative Advocacy

  • Socio-Legal Policy Research & Analysis

  • Pay Equity

  • Educational Opportunity

© 2014 Elsner Law & Policy