Marla K. Conley
Marla is the founding partner of Conley Law Group LLC, where she provides general counsel and strategic planning services to a wide range of nonprofit, especially tax-exempt and charitable, organizations and their donors and collaborating partners.
Marla started her career in direct service work for youth and families. She received her undergraduate degree, from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, with a focus on US urban poverty policy affecting youth. She received her law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to founding Conley Law Group LLC, she co-chaired the Nonprofit Practice Group at a large, full-service law firm based in Philadelphia.
Prior to law school, she worked in affordable housing and in direct service charities in Baltimore, MD and Newark, NJ. Many of these years were spent managing caseloads across the City of Baltimore for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland, and she worked during law school at the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law and the Delaware Office of the Child Advocate.
She is now privileged to serve as outside legal counsel for many organizations offering direct services or grantmaking support in the child welfare and juvenile justice areas.
While Marla represents many direct service charities and trade organizations, she also has extensive experience in the federal tax and state charitable laws applicable to private foundations, charitable trusts, donor advised funds and their sponsoring organizations, and other grantmakers. She advises on technical tax and financing as well as trust and fiduciary issues related to endowment and charitable trust management such as investment policies, donor restrictions, mission related investments, program related investments, international grantmaking, and other issues of charitable spending. Marla is always interested in hearing about new models for collaborative charitable financing or program evaluation.
In addition to her focus areas of child welfare and juvenile justice, Marla is an avid scuba diver and also hopes to help create positive change by serving charitable clients working in the areas of water conservation and animal welfare.
Education, Bar Admissions,
and Other Distinctions & Awards
University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., magna cum laude
Princeton University, A.B., School of Public and International Affairs
Other Distinctions & Awards
ABA Nonprofit Lawyer Awards: Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
Selected as one of Pennsylvania's "Lawyers on the Fast Track" by The Legal Intelligencer, 2014
Recipient of the Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis 2013 Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award
Recipient of the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association's 2013 Craig M. Perry Community Service Award
Kenneth W. Gemmill Prize for the best paper in the field of taxation, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 2008
University of Pennsylvania Order of the Coif
Journal of Law and Social Change, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Editor in Chief
University of Pennsylvania Inns of Court