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Michael B. Trister
Mike Trister

Mike Trister, a respected authority on nonprofit tax law, counsels clients on tax, lobbying, ethics and campaign-finance matters.  He has represented foundations, charities, advocacy organizations, trade associations and labor unions in state and federal court, and before a broad variety of regulatory bodies.  Clients seek his expertise at guiding organizations through IRS audits and Federal Election Commission investigations, working to resolve the issues as favorably as possible. 

An expert in legal ethics, Mr. Trister has chaired the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee and has counseled clients confronting a variety of ethical dilemmas.  Additionally, his experience has made him a trusted resource for clients seeking to influence Congress and the Executive Branch within the thicket of new lobbying rules being instituted on Capitol Hill and in the White House. 

He also serves as outside general counsel for organizations, advising executives on operations issues such as securing tax exemptions for new organizations, negotiating contracts, and resolving personnel matters.


            Mr. Trister teaches The Law of Advocacy and Elections as an adjunct professor at American   

            University, Washington College of Law.


        • Yale Law School, LL.B., 1966
        • Princeton University, A.B., magna cum laude, 1963


        Bar Admissions:

        • District of Columbia
        • Mississippi (inactive)
        • Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
        • Numerous other federal courts including Supreme Court of the United States


        Prior Professional Experience:

        • Private practice of law, 1976 to present
        • Children’s Defense Fund, Vice President and General Counsel
        • Executive Director, North Mississippi Rural Legal Services
        • Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi School of Law



        • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002: How Will It Affect Nonprofits?, 36 Exempt Org. Tax Rev.171 (2002) (with B. Holly Schadler)
        • The Rise and Reform of Stealth PACs, American Prospect, Oct. 2000
        • Federal Election Law Manual For Union Lawyers, 1998



        • Labor-Related 501(c)(3) Organizations: An Overview of Legal, Tax and Administrative Requirements, delivered to the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, Seattle, Washington, May 2008



        • Past Chair, Legal Ethics Committee, District of Columbia Bar
        • Past Chair, Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee, District of Columbia Bar









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