Partner

Charity & Philanthropy

Get in touch

For further advice please contact us for a consultation.

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UK Contact

+44 (0)3330 143 401 info@gunnercooke.com
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Germany Contact

+49 30 220 131-000 centralservices@gunnercooke.de

Partner

Charity & Philanthropy

Expertise

Michele combines a passion for helping charities and not for profits succeed, with an enthusiasm for advising philanthropists and social investors on how best to support the causes close to their hearts.

With a 30-year career spanning contentious and non-contentious areas of the Law, Michele has developed a niche where she combines her practical and legal skills to great effect in the fast-developing and increasingly vital areas within the Third Sector and Civil Society.  She aims to equip charities to best face the challenges and demands upon their services while ensuring that those who wish to support charities do so in the most effective and tax-efficient way.

Michele understands the sector from the inside out, having worked in-house with a major national military charity and at senior executive level for a start-up heritage charity.  She is able to bring wisdom, insight, and pragmatism to every situation, and is particularly well sought after by charities facing reputational and operational problems.  On the Philanthropy side, social investors and families wishing to create charitable foundations value her knowledge of what truly brings about change and the access she has to a wide range of relevant networks.

Michele is well regarded for her written articles, broadcasts, training presentations, webinars, and conference contributions on Charity and Philanthropy.  Michele currently sits on the board of The Choral Foundation, Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, and is a London Magistrate.

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Michele Advises

  • Charities
    • Charitable Incorporated Associations (CIOs)
    • Chartable Companies (CLGs)
    • Trusts
    • Unincorporated Associations
    • Schemes
    • Royal Charters
    • Faith-based organisations
    • Livery Companies
  • Not for profit organisations
    • Community Interest Companies (CICs)
    • Social Enterprises
    • Foundations
  • Philanthropists
  • Social Investors
  • Executors and Trustees
  • Family foundations

Experience Highlights

  • Successfully registered a faith-based charity in time for Ramadan to enable it to maximise fundraising opportunities, which involved an expedited and difficult application raising issues of funds going overseas
  • Advised the charitable arm of a City Livery Company on incorporating as a CIO to reduce individual liability and to update the charitable purposes and beneficial outreach. Succeeded in registering one of the first CIOs for a Livery Company and now advising others
  • Overhauled and redesigned charity governance, to give training on responsibilities and fiduciary duties to a board and draft internal documents for an overseas aid charity facing Charity Commission intervention for poor governance
  • Represented faith-based organisations and overseas aid charities in relation to historical sexual abuse allegations, including civil claims and criminal prosecutions arising out of IICSA and high-profile investigations
  • Represented a Trustee accused of defrauding a charity of substantial charitable funds
  • Settled a contested probate relating to a large charitable legacy where the original charity legatee no longer existed
  • Advised an international philanthropist on vehicles available for UK and International social investment. Led a profile-raising project for a campaign that gained international recognition
  • Recently advised on aspects arising from the Marcus Rashford feeding school children campaign

Career History

Previous Law Firms

  • Partner, Pothecary Witham Weld, Church & Charities(2018-2021)
  • Solicitor, Morrisons LLP, Private Client and Charities (2017-2018)
  • Director of Development, The Choral Foundation, Hampton Court Palace, 2012 to 2016
  • In-House Solicitor, The Royal British Legion (2010-2012)
  • Associate and Partner, Peters & Peters, White Collar Crime, (1990-1998)
  • Trainee Solicitor, JP Malnick & Co (1988-1990)

Memberships

  • Freeman of the City of London Solicitors Livery Company
  • Charity Law Association
  • Private Client Section of the Law Society
  • STEP Charity Specialist interest Group,
  • Philanthropy Impact
  • STEP Affiliate

Education

  • The College of Law, 1986 – 1988
  • The University of Sussex, BA (Hons) History, 1983- 1986

Get in touch

For further advice please contact us for a consultation.

-

UK Contact

+44 (0)3330 143 401 info@gunnercooke.com
-

Germany Contact

+49 30 220 131-000 centralservices@gunnercooke.de