Legal Counsel

David Duncan received his law degree from Willamette University in 1971.

Duncan works through enough paper each year to create several stacks equal to his height.

Legal work on estate planning fills 60 percent of Duncan's time; the remainder is spent on "church" law.

Duncan has been NPUC legal counsel since 1984.

In this increasingly litigious society, the North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) through the Office of General Legal Counsel provides counsel and guidance with a goal of minimizing legal exposure and liability. In-house counsel, unlike outside providers, supplies a unique perspective because of its close association and understanding of the structure and operation of the church.

To provide effective and ongoing access to legal counsel to church leadership at all levels and to minimize legal risks and distractions in order to permit the church to actively focus on fulfilling its mission.

Legal Assistance—Provided legal counsel and advice to conference, church and school leadership as a consultant and problem solver.

Estate Planning—Prepared documents and provided counsel to local conference trust departments and church members that have requested assistance, where such service is ethically permissable.

Trust Services—The most common form of support is found in legal guidance to support conferences as they work directly with members in an estate planning process.

Legal Assistance—Frequently helped conferences and churches find the balance between legal protection and pastoral concerns.

Refine Attorney Roles—As church estate planning activities grow, we plan to assist our conferences in locating and using independent attorneys who can join with our conference trust departments in providing quality estate planning to the client.

Refocus Our Role—Once an adequate group of qualified, independent attorneys is in place, we wish to focus our work on providing legal advice to the church in areas of church and school law. This will permit us to provide the essential time needed in areas of corporate, property, employment and transactional law that directly affect the organization.

August 01, 2006 / Feature