Nonprofit Consulting Justine Thompson Cowan

Justine Thompson Cowan, Esq.

Owner, Cowan Consulting for Nonprofits, PLLC

Justine Cowan is a graduate of Duke University School of Law (with honors) and the University of California, Berkeley (B.A. Economics). Justine has held a variety of leadership roles for local, state and national nonprofits including serving for thirteen years as the Executive Director of Atlanta-based GreenLaw. With over twenty years in the nonprofit sector, Justine has hands-on experience building effective well-run organizations.

Professional Experience

  • Duke University School of Law (J.D. '95 with honors)
  • Duke Law Journal, Editorial Board
  • Law Clerk, United States District Court, Middle District of Tennessee ('95-'97)
  • University of California Berkeley (B.A. Economics '88)
  • Admitted to The Florida Bar ('12) (active)
  • Admitted to The Georgia Bar ('97) (inactive)
  • Admitted to The Tennessee Bar ('95) (inactive)
  • Nonprofit Legal Services - provided nonprofits with legal and strategic counsel on a range of nonprofit management issues including compliance with IRS requirements as well as state and federal regulations pertaining to nonprofits, development of marketing and fundraising plans, board development, human resources and more.
  • Facilitation and Planning - facilitated strategic work for coalitions, nonprofit boards and nonprofit leadership teams.
  • Board Development - engaged in extensive board development, training and strategic planning.
  • Fundraising - raised over $5 million for environmental and social justice causes.
  • Budgeting and Finance - managed nonprofit financials including the development of annual budgets and comprehensive financial protocols, annual audits and compliance with all tax and reporting requirements for nonprofits.
  • Personnel Management - managed and motivated professional and administrative staff, consultants and interns.
  • Public Relations - engaged in all aspects of in public relations, including speaking engagements, writing for publications, and providing commentary for print, television and radio news outlets.
  • Marketing - developed and maintained a comprehensive marketing plan that included web, social media, television and radio.
  • Advocacy - advocated for improvements to law and policy through administrative and legal processes. Lobbied members of state legislatures, provided testimony before legislative committees and analyzed proposed legislation.
  • Litigation - managed and served as lead counsel in complex state and federal litigation.
  • Webinar: Big Changes in Employment Law: How Your Nonprofit Should Prepare for New Overtime Rules, Edyth Bush Institute of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida (2016)
  • Lunch & Learn: Overview of the New Department of Labor Overtime Rules & the Legal Implications for Nonprofits, CFO Strategic Partners, Orlando, Florida (2016)
  • Get your Fundraising Program In Shape: Fundraising Legal Checkup 2016, AFP Space Coast, Viera, Florida (2016)
  • Running an Event: What are the Legal Issues Your Nonprofit Needs to Know? Planet Philanthropy, Orlando, Florida (2016)
  • Fundraising Legal Checkup:How to Impress Donors and Stay out of Trouble, Planet Philanthropy, Orlando, Florida (2016)
  • Strategic Giving: How to Make Your Gifts Count, Women’s Giving Alliance, Clermont, Florida (2015)
  • Building a Board that Works: How to Make Your Board More Effective, 10th Annual Neighborhood and Community Summit, Orlando, Florida (2015)
  • Fundraising Legal and Ethics Checkup: How to Impress Donors and Stay out of Trouble
    • Association of Fundraising Professionals, First Coast Chapter, Jacksonville, Florida (2015)
    • Association of Fundraising Professionals, Central Florida Chapter, Winter Park, Florida (2015)
    • Nonprofit Business Council of the County Chamber Economic Partnership, Ocala, Florida (2015)
  • Nonprofit Governance: The Legal Landscape, Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals Conference, Orlando, Florida (2015)
  • Keeping it Legal: An Overview of Fundraising Laws and Regulations, Space Coast Association for Fundraising Professionals, Space Coast Chapter, Viera, Florida (2014)
  • How to Keep It Legal: An Overview of Key Legal and Ethical Issues for Nonprofits, Featured Speaker, Assistance League National Conference, Orlando, Florida (2014)
  • What Every Nonprofit Needs to Know to Comply with Florida’s New Laws on FundraisingEdyth Bush Institute of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida (2014)
  • Legal & Ethical Issues for Nonprofits, Rollins Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Center, Winter Park, Florida (2014)
  • Roundtable Discussion: Is Title VI a Viable Tool for Protection of Environmental Justice Communities? Moderator, Florida A & M University Law School, Orlando, Florida (2013)
  • Pro Bono Panel: Why Helping the Community Helps your Bottom Line, Moderator, Orlando, Florida (2013)
  • No More Dumping in Dixie! Using the Law to Promote Environmental Justice in the South, Florida A & M University Law School, Orlando, Florida (2011)
  • Georgia's Energy Future: Are We Looking Forward or Backwards?, Columbus Bar Association, Columbus, Georgia (2011)
  • Litigating in the Office of State Administrative Hearings, Georgia Public Interest Environmental Law Coalition, Atlanta, Georgia (2010)
  • Water Quality Permitting in Georgia, Georgia Water Resources Conference, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia (2009)
  • Working for Environmental Justice, Advancing the Consensus: 60 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Conference, Emory University School of Law, Decatur, Georgia (2008)
  • The Impact of Coal in Georgia, EcoFocus Film Festival, Athens, Georgia (2008)
  • The Role of the Law in the Struggle for Environmental Justice, Tribute to Martin Luther King, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia (2006)
  • Combined Animal Feeding Operations, Georgia Water Resources Conference, Athens, Georgia (1999)
  • Guest lecturer at FAMU, Emory University, University of Georgia, Georgia State University and Mercer University law schools.
  • Instructor at the Edyth Bush Institute of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, Rollins College.
  • Adjunct professor for the University of Georgia Institute of Ecology Costa Rica law program (Monte Verde, Costa Rica).
  • Instructor - English as a Second Language (Japan)
  • Board trainer and facilitator for nonprofits such as:
    • State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR)
    • Friends of Children and Families
    • Pace Brantley School
    • Meals on Wheels
    • The Florida House
    • Boys and Girls Club of Sumter and Lake Counties
  • Award of Appreciation, Friends of the Chattahoochee (2012)
  • Ogden Doremus Award for Excellence in Environmental Law, GreenLaw (2012)
  • Recognition of Achievement, Beyond Coal Movement (2010)
  • Outstanding Contribution, Sierra Club (2008)
  • Champion for Clean Water, Ogeechee Riverkeeper (2006)
  • Award of Appreciation, T.C.A.L. (2005)
  • Green Team Award for Top Georgia Environmentalists (GreenLaw), Creative Loafing Newspaper (2003)
  • Award of Appreciation, South DeKalb Neighborhoods Coalition (2003)
  • Award of Recognition, Altamaha Riverkeeper (2002)
  • Award of Appreciation for Outstanding Achievement, Sierra Club (1999)
Testimonial for Nonprofit Lawyer Cowan Consulting

Client Testimonials

We have worked with Justine on a number of projects, involving our clients and also for the firm.  She makes navigating the often complex legal issues of the nonprofit world easy for us.
Paul Bryan – Resilient Philanthropy