Christian Legal Society / CLS

The information on this page was last updated 4/12/2023. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


Christian Legal Society ("CLS") is a national network of attorneys, judges, law students, professors, and lay people, with local chapters of attorneys and law students located in almost every state. CLS helps lawyers to integrate their faith in Christ with their professional responsibilities and reaches and teaches law students across the country to obey Jesus' age-old command "to do justice with the love of God." (Luke 11:42). CLS sponsors local and national conferences for attorneys and law students. It also has established the Center for Law and Religious Freedom to protect and promote the inalienable and constitutional rights of free exercise of religion and sanctity of human life. It provides consultant services, researches current issues, publishes a quarterly journal, and provides strategic litigation support at appellant and trial court levels.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Christian Legal Society
8001 Braddock Avenue
Suite 302
Springfield, VA 22151


Phone: (703) 642-1070

Email: [email protected]

Organization details

EIN: 366101090

CEO/President: David Nammo

Chairman: Charles Oellermann

Board size: 23

Founder: Paul Barnard and Henry Luke Brinks

Ruling year: 1991

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 12/31

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1982


Christian Legal Society (CLS), founded in 1961, seeks to fulfill God's command found in Micah 6:8 by bringing glory to God by inspiring, encouraging, and equipping Christian attorneys and law students, both individually and in community, to proclaim, love, and serve Jesus Christ through the study and practice of law, through the provision of legal assistance to the poor and needy, and through the defense of the inalienable rights to life and religious freedom.

Mission statement

CLS Objectives

To proclaim Jesus as Lord through all we do;

To defend the religious freedom of all Americans through the legislatures and courts;

To defend the religious freedom of students to gather on their campuses as Christian organizations;

To promote justice for the poor, religious freedom, sanctity of human life, and biblical conflict resolution;

To encourage Christian attorneys to view law as a ministry and help them integrate faith and their legal practice;

To provide Christian attorneys a means of society and fellowship;

To encourage and disciple Christian law professors and students;

To provide a forum for discussing issues related to Christianity and the law;

To encourage attorneys and law students to serve the poor and needy.

Statement of faith

Christian Legal Society's Statement of Faith is:

One God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

The Deity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, God's only Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; His vicarious death for our sins through which we receive eternal life; His bodily resurrection and personal return.

The presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.

The Bible as the inspired Word of God.

Donor confidence score

Show donor confidence score details

Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Advocacy

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating346 of 107712 of 41
Fund acquisition rating344 of 107810 of 41
Resource allocation rating167 of 107812 of 41
Asset utilization rating801 of 107729 of 41

Financial ratios

Funding ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Total contributions
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total revenue
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Total revenue
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total expenses
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
Total revenue
Operating ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Total expenses
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Total revenue
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Total revenue
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Total revenue
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
Net assets
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
Total expenses
Investing ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total assets
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
Liquidity ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
Solvency ratiosSector median20212020201920182017
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Total assets
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Debt /
Total assets
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
Total expenses


Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$696,177$835,721$728,479$474,079$476,515
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$3,185,027$2,420,760$1,690,188$1,599,080$870,201
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$73,124$69,866$22,891$31,056$38,197
Other long-term assets$6,849$6,849$8,138$8,138$8,138
Total long-term assets$79,973$76,715$31,029$39,194$46,335
Total assets$3,265,000$2,497,475$1,721,217$1,638,274$916,536
Payables and accrued expenses$18,525$14,893$10,181$11,435$18,459
Other current liabilities$7,550$265,286$5,110$24,315$9,020
Total current liabilities$26,075$280,179$15,291$35,750$27,479
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$94,686$279,909$44,837$47,355$52,229
Total long-term liabilities$94,686$279,909$44,837$47,355$52,229
Total liabilities$120,761$560,088$60,128$83,105$79,708
Net assets20212020201920182017
Without donor restrictions$1,354,421$612,317$948,010$792,905$800,236
With donor restrictions$1,789,818$1,325,070$713,079$762,264$36,592
Net assets$3,144,239$1,937,387$1,661,089$1,555,169$836,828
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$2,516,768$1,380,214$1,420,619$1,749,734$977,177
Program service revenue$295,236$42,753$292,536$211,656$270,498
Membership dues$0$370,311$361,280$379,567$384,393
Investment income$11,709$6,817$1,733$0$0
Other revenue$5,500$39,469$75,108$39,497$11,770
Total other revenue$312,445$459,350$730,657$630,720$666,661
Total revenue$2,829,213$1,839,564$2,151,276$2,380,454$1,643,838
Program services$1,758,912$1,387,940$1,754,954$1,398,415$1,176,581
Management and general$137,646$181,807$137,557$122,163$101,389
Total expenses$2,057,470$1,696,444$2,043,611$1,662,700$1,386,703
Change in net assets20212020201920182017
Surplus (deficit)$771,743$143,120$107,665$717,754$257,135
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$771,743$143,120$107,665$717,754$257,135


David NammoExecutive Director & CEO$131,814
Kimberlee ColbyKey Employee$111,926

Compensation data as of: 12/31/2019

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 4/12/2023. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


It all began with a late-night conversation in 1959. Following a time of prayer while both were attending an American Bar Association national convention, Paul Barnard and Henry Luke Brinks talked about the need for a national association of Christian lawyers. Former Wheaton College classmates, Barnard, a law professor at Stetson University in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Brinks, an attorney in the Chicago firm of Bryon, Hume, Groen and Clement, had arrived independently at the same conclusion: Christian lawyers had no network for sharing their problems and finding fellowship. Pastors and church groups did not know how to locate Christian lawyers who were willing and able to offer legal counsel from a Christian perspective. Christian doctors had the Christian Medical Society to assist them to integrate their faith and profession, so why not form a Christian "legal society?"

The founding "Chicago chapter" filed the Articles of Incorporation for Christian Legal Society on October 19, 1961. On February 3, 1962 CLS held its first board of director's meeting at 38 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois, at which time the first CLS by-laws were adopted and the first twenty-one "members of the corporation" and the first five "officers of the corporation" were elected "subject to their acceptance and submission of properly executed applications."[1]

The five original purposes of the Christian Legal Society, as stated in the formal paperwork, were remarkably similar to the nine purposes now listed in CLS' current Vision and Mission Statement:

- To provide a means of society among Christian lawyers.

- To clarify and promote the concept of the Christian lawyer.

- To encourage and aid deserving young students in preparing for the legal profession.

- To provide a forum for the discussion of problems relating to Christianity and law.

- To cooperate with bar associations and other organizations in asserting and maintaining high standards of legal ethics.

Program accomplishments

Christian Legal Society accomplishments and programs include some of the following:

Membership Ministries: Facilitates a means of society, fellowship and nurturing among Christian lawyers, judges, law professors and students, helping them to view law vocationally as an opportunity for Christian witness, service and ministry.

Conferences: Sponsors local and national conferences for attorneys and law students.

Center for Law and Religious Freedom: Protects and promotes the inalienable and constitutional rights of free exercise of religion and sanctity of human life, provides consultative services, researches current issues, publishes a quarterly journal, and provides strategic litigation support at appellant and trial court levels.

Public Ministries: Promotes the training and certification of Christian lawyers in Biblical reconciliation techniques and conflict resolution. Encourages members to provide legal aid, both individually and through local chapters, in active cooperation with social service providers like the International Union of Gospel Missions, the Salvation Army or Catholic Social Services.

Law Student Ministries: Establishes CLS-affiliated student chapters at law schools and CLS-affiliated student chapters at law schools and colleges throughout the United States. Provides mentors and resources to foster spiritual growth, outreach through public service, and integration of legal practice and Christian faith.