Errol Copilevitz

M. Errol Copilevitz

Founding Partner



  • J.D., University of Oklahoma, 1968
  • B.A., Political Science and History, University of Oklahoma, 1965

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals (most)
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • Missouri

Errol Copilevitz, admitted to bar, 1968, Missouri; 1969, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri; 1977, admitted before most U.S. Courts of Appeals; United States Tax Court and United States Supreme Court.


  • First Amendment
  • Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Organizations
  • Regulatory and Compliance
  • Telemarketing


Copilevitz is the founding partner. His national practice focuses on tax-exempt organizations, charitable fundraising and First Amendment issues. He has twice represented his clients before the United States Supreme Court in Riley v. Nat’l. Fed’n. of the Blind, 487 U.S. 781 (1988) and Illinois ex rel. Madigan v. Telemarketing Assocs., 538 U.S. 600 (2003), both times securing important rights for all charities and fundraising organizations. He provides general counsel for many charitable organizations and represents clients as diverse as the Wounded Warrior Project, the National Children’s Cancer Society and Mail America Communications.

Copilevitz has been involved with legislative matters on both state and federal levels. He testified before the Wisconsin legislature and actively participated through consultation in drafting charitable solicitation laws in the states of Arkansas, Ohio, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. He also pioneered the provision of charitable registration services to the nonprofit community.  Copilevitz & Canter provides this service to more than 300 national charitable organizations and is the leading provider of this service in the United States.

In the spring of 2012, Copilevitz was recognized in “The Best & The Brightest” review in The NonProfit Times. Along with other distinguished individuals in the charitable industry, including Bill Gates and U2’s Bono, Copilevitz is listed among the top 25 most influential persons in the charitable sector in the past 25 years. He has received numerous other awards including Philanthropy Monthly Magazine’s 1998 Man of the Year, The NonProfit Times 2003 Power & Influence Top 50 and U.S. News & World Report 2014 Kansas City First Amendment Lawyer of the Year. For more than two decades, Copilevitz has been listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has enjoyed the highest possible rating in Martindale-Hubbell. He is a past president of the First Amendment Lawyers Association.

Copilevitz is the author of numerous articles in trade and educational magazines. He has represented the nonprofit industry with interviews on national television shows and has been quoted in such major publications as Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal. Copilevitz and his practice have also been profiled in major newspapers: The Kansas City Star, The Denver Post, Orlando Sentinel and The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Publications / Speaking Engagements

“Nonprofit Trademarks and Intellectual Property.”  Lecture from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Kansas City, MO, 2014.

“You, The Internet, Money & Your Privacy: The Law of Electronic Solicitation.”  Lecture from the New York Nonprofit Conference, New York, NY, 2010.

“Implications of Illinois ex rel. Madigan v. Telemarketing Associates.”  Lecture from Columbia University School of Law, New York, NY, 2003.

“The First Amendment and Charitable Solicitation.”  Keynote Speaker at the Indiana University School of Philanthropy Symposium, Indianapolis, IN, 1996.

Final Intermediate Sanctions Regulations: A Synopsis, Philanthropy Monthly Magazine, May 2002.

Looking Back to Assess the United Cancer Council Case, Taxation of Exempts, September 2001.

Mailing Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Complying with State Fundraising Laws May Place Charities’ Mail at Risk, Philanthropy Monthly Magazine, June 2000.

The Historical Role of the First Amendment in Charitable Appeals, XXVI Stetson L. Rev. (No. 2) 457, 1997.

Fundraising and the courts, Philanthropic Fundraising, March 1997.

Putting Riley in Perspective, Philanthropy Monthly Magazine, November 1996.

Issues Faced by Fundraising Counsel, Taxation of Exempts, March 1995.