The NGO Law team

What we do

NGO Law provides practical legal advice and assistance to not-for-profits of all shapes and sizes. Our interesting and inspiring clients range from local community start-ups to trans-frontier projects and multinationals.

How we work

We provide a cost-effective, no-frills service that also aims to go the extra mile where it counts, and we aim for clarity and accuracy in all our dealings with you. We don’t have fancy offices or a smooth corporate image to maintain but focus on getting the job done as efficiently as possible. We work as a team and play to our strengths, which means you will probably deal with all of us at some stage.

Office hours and communication

  • We all work flexi-time and sometimes remotely, so some of us may not be in the office on every week day.
  • Our landline is reliably answered between 8am and 3.30pm on weekdays. Nicole, Lize and Bandile will (unless otherwise occupied in meetings/ workshops or on landline calls) answer their cellphones between 8.30 am and 4.30pm on weekdays.
  • Email is our preferred method of written communication. We do not use Whatsapp or SMS for work purposes (except for CIPC pin confirmations).
  • Because we prefer to deal with incoming emails in a comprehensive and considered fashion, we do not aim to answer all emails on the day they are received. If you do not receive a response within a week, please do feel free to resend and remind us about any pressing deadline you may have.
  • Please try to give us at least three weeks’ notice of deadlines and meetings so that we can plan to have the work done when you need it. We do try to accommodate sudden emergencies, but this is not always possiblewhen we are already working to other deadlines.

Dealing with government

The government departments that we deal with often have backlogs and turnaround problems. We keep abreast of these, so we can advise you on the sorts of delays you can expect.

We have long-standing collegial relationships with many of the officials working in government departments. The cordiality of these relationships is beneficial to all of our clients. We are mindful of the constraints and pressures that these people are under and will not pester, insult or harangue them as they deserve respectful treatment and it does your case no good to be demanding or rude.

New clients

Before we start work for you we will

  • Usually provide some initial advice;
  • send you a short ‘letter of engagement’ to sign; and
  • Send you a pro forma invoice with a deposit to be paid (which will later be offset against the first invoice we send you).

Once we have the details we need from you, the signed letter of engagement and proof of payment of our deposit, we will open your file, set up meetings/ telephone consults (if necessary) and commence work.

Our fees

  • We will provide estimates for the work to be done and fixed quotes for some sorts of work. Where we do provide the option of a fixed quote, you can still opt to be charged for actual time spent on your project.
  • We charge for all of our time spent working for you. We do not take free meetings and, while we may give out some initial advice before you are officially a client, we will record the time spent doing this, and, once you are a client, invoice you for it, as this initial advice is probably the most valuable work we will do for you.
  • We record our time spent on every sort of work done for you- researching, drafting, advising, meeting, travelling, emailing you, talking to you on the phone, filling out forms, checking and collating what you send, and following up with you when you don’t respond to us. (We don’t charge per email, or per page, or for minimum periods, just per minute).
  • If you want us to stop work on a project, or to hit pause for a while, let us know, or we will keep working for you.

Meet the team

NICOLE COPLEY

BA(LLB)(LLM-tax)
Nicole has consulted to the NGO sector since 1993. She is an admitted attorney (non-practising) and has her Masters in the tax exemption laws. Nicole developed her drafting skills while working as a business lawyer, and she has a pragmatic problem-solving approach to all the work she does. Her depth and breadth of experience over many years and her work with government and a wide range of clients, give her useful perspective and insight. Nicole also lectures and trains on various topics of importance to the NGO sector. She is author of ‘NGO Matters: A practical legal guide to starting up’, and managing author of the series of NGO Matters handbooks.

JANICE STEFFENSEN

Janice’s background is in travel consultancy and she spent 15 years working for South Africa’s leading tour operator heading up the international reservations department. She now navigates a different sort of landscape for the clients of NGO Law, and has been a valuable part of NGOLaw since 2007. Unflappable and resourceful, Janice manages the consultancy, handles all of the invoicing, deals with trust and company forms, and ably guides our clients on matters of compliance

DOROTHY O’NEILL

Dorothy is an experienced legal secretary and paralegal assistant who worked in a legal practice for eight years before taking time off to have a family. She returned to her desk in 2013 when she joined NGOLaw. Apart from providing essential administrative assistance, Dorothy, with a keen eye for detail, makes all of the NPO applications on behalf of our clients; compiles the PBO applications, and tracks the various registration processes until completion.
Lisa D'Eramo

LISA D’ERAMO

Lisa joined ngoLAW in 2018 and is our calm and efficient Companies Office consultant- she handles all CIPC documents, NPC and Pty registrations, changes and compliance matters. Lisa also deals with PBO applications and is in charge of our diary and booking meetings.
Bandile Khwela

BANDILE KWHELA

BA(LLB)
Bandile is an admitted attorney who recently joined the team at NGOLaw to assist Nicole with drafting, research, NPO compliance and training. Bandile volunteered at Legal Aid South Africa where she gained legal practical experience in social welfare within the legal system before completing her articles. She has a passion for young people and especially seeing young people realising their potential and accomplishing their goals. She is encouraged by seeing people reaching their full potential in life through education, social advancement and healthy living. She has a passion for service and the NGO sector.
Lize Vermeulen

LIZE VERMEULEN

BSC (LLB)
Lize is an admitted attorney and conveyancer who practiced Trusts and Estates law before joining us. She now heads up our trusts and companies section, and also assists our clients with drafting, advice, governance and training. Lize is passionate about the NGO sector, and helping and assisting clients wherever she can to enable them to effectively represent and govern their organisations. Lize loves research and finding solutions to clients’ problems.

A few of our clients

Wildlife Act

“Nicole and her team have been a crucial support system for our growing NGO, from providing well considered legal and governance advice on complex issues to efficient administrative services. Nicole is both professional and personable with a genuine desire to Continue reading →

Sail Africa

We were more than delighted with the service we received from Nicole and her team at NGO Law.  Not only was the outcome exactly as we desired, but the service was impeccable.  Both Nicole and Philippa were professional yet approachable, Continue reading →

Fix Forward

We used NGO Law to assist with a number of things, including drafting agreements between our non-profit trust and company, drafting the MOI for the company and submitting reports and name change requests to the NPO Directorate. We found them Continue reading →

Red Frogs

“Working with Nicole and her team has been an absolute pleasure. We have been incredibly impressed with her professionalism, insight and willingness to guide us through the founding of our organisation both as an NPO & PBO. She was able Continue reading →

Just Share

Just Share: NGOLaw is super-efficient, professional and friendly, and most importantly of all, they know exactly what they’re doing! They really do make stressful, complicated processes easy to manage. We thoroughly recommend them. Continue reading →

CRSP Design

CRSP Design: Nicole and the team at NGO Law have been incredibly supportive of our journey towards the creation of our Non Profit Company. From the very first engagement we had, we were presented with all the relevant information to Continue reading →

CASME

Nicole Copley and the NGO Law team possess rich knowledge and long experience of the legal and policy frameworks that govern the non profit sector. As such they serve as an invaluable resource to draw on in an often confusing Continue reading →

Abalobi

Nicole and her team at NGOlaw are our trusted legal partners, since our first registration. They are always available for expert advice, and have helped us tremendously in building our non-profit governance and accountability structures. These are critical to us Continue reading →

Blood Lions

Blood Lions: “Working with Nicole Copley and her team at NGO Law has been an absolute pleasure!   The assistance, advice and feedback provided was of an exceptionally high standard – extremely professional, punctual and explicable – and I would Continue reading →