Ben Tesdahl represents charitable, educational and religious organizations, veterans groups, trade and professional associations, and lobbying and political organizations.
From his very first assignment in private practice – representing a nonprofit organization at risk of losing its tax exemption, which would have meant losing its ability to operate – Ben has dedicated his career to supporting nonprofits and the good works that they do.
Coupled with his dedication to client communication and responsiveness, Ben’s in-depth knowledge of nonprofit organizations allows him to answer clients’ questions, provide advice on issues, and offer support on virtually any aspect of their business efficiently and without delay. Serving most clients in the capacity of outside General Counsel, over the years, Ben has advised on the full spectrum of issues that nonprofits face and welcomes the regular, sometimes daily, interaction he has with clients.
His practice encompasses everything necessary to assist exempt organizations including tax, contract and corporate law, specifically:
- Reviewing and negotiating all types of contracts, with particular expertise in hotel, meeting and convention contracts
- Providing consulting and strategic planning assistance to nonprofit organizations
- Providing advice on governance and bylaws issues
- Providing advice on relevant collateral areas of law, such as state property and sales tax exemption laws, employment law, charitable fund-raising statutes, and trademark and copyright law
A former adjunct professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, Ben taught an advanced seminar on tax-exempt organizations as part of the university's graduate tax program. He is also a frequent author and speaker, as well as penning portions of several well-regarded and influential books for and about nonprofits.
Some of Ben's achievements include:
- Incorporated a wide variety of tax-exempt organizations in more than half the states in the country.
- Successfully drafted and negotiated with the IRS for approval of dozens of tax exemption applications (Form 1023 and Form 1024).
- Successfully negotiated dozens of hotel and convention contracts, to include obtaining substantial reductions in attrition and cancellation penalties arising from such contracts.
- Drafted and successfully negotiated numerous trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and assisted a variety of clients in defending their trademarks against infringement by third parties.
- Author, Better Bylaws, 2nd Ed., BoardSource, 2010
- Co-Author: Intermediate Sanctions -- Curbing Nonprofit Abuse, John Wiley & Sons Publishers, 1997
- Contributing author of three chapters in: The Law of Fundraising, John Wiley & Sons Publishers, 1995
- Contributing author of two chapters in: Charity, Advocacy and The Law, John Wiley & Sons Publishers, 1992
LL.M. Taxation, with distinction, Georgetown University, 1992
J.D., Order of the Coif, University of Oregon, 1984
M.S., University of Southern California, 1981
B.S., U.S. Military Academy at West Point, 1977
District of Columbia
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. Supreme Court
Honors & Awards
National Law School Honor Society (Order of the Coif), University of Oregon Law School
Associate Editor, Oregon Law Review
Awards for Editorial Excellence and Outstanding Achievement, Oregon Law Review
The Best Lawyers in America®, Nonprofit Law, 2023-2024
Memberships & Activities
Member, American Bar Association's Committee on Exempt Organizations
Member, Exempt Organizations Committee of the District of Columbia Bar
Past Co-Chair, American Bar Association Subcommittee on Tax-Exempt Entities