Paul Winters


Paul Winters is a partner and provides legal services for the firm's wide array of nonprofit clients and other entities. Paul leads the firm's corporate practice group as well as the firm's technology and data privacy practice groups, assisting clients to understand and comply with these dynamic legal areas. His practice is devoted to helping nonprofits maximally achieve their exempt purposes.

Paul chairs the Religious Organizations subcommittee of the American Bar Association's Nonprofit Organizations Committee. Churches, denominations, and other religious organizations, trade associations, educational institutions, and large private foundations, number among the clients Paul serves. Paul advises organizations in the development of multi-entity corporate structures and improving nonprofits' risk profiles. He aids nonprofits in the development of joint ventures and leveraging commercial and taxable opportunities, while safeguarding parent nonprofits' valuable tax-exemption. Paul has provided advice and counsel to numerous nonprofits navigating federal and state grant agreements. He negotiates complex transactions on behalf of the firm's clients and develops strong contracts and other agreements to further diverse tax-exempt purposes. Paul has advised many nonprofit boards of directors to help them understand their fiduciary duties and has developed robust corporate Bylaws from which leaders can properly govern.

Paul enjoys teaching about the laws affecting nonprofits, both at the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies and the DePaul University College of Law, and he is a frequent speaker on such subjects. He has served as an expert witness in federal court on issues related to nonprofit qualifications. While in law school, Paul completed two judicial externships: one for the Honorable Sharon Johnson Coleman in the Northern District of Illinois federal court, and a second for the Honorable Matthias Delort in Cook County. Also during law school, Paul volunteered at a suburban legal aid clinic. Prior to working at Wagenmaker & Oberly, Paul spent one year working for the in-house counsel department of an international energy company.

Prior to his law school education, Paul served as the senior pastor of a Chicago-area suburban church for 16 years. During that time, Paul served in varying roles as Moderator of the Chicago Metro Presbytery, and Chairman of its Missions and Credentialing Committees. Paul's combination of educational, corporate, legal, and ecclesiastical experience gives him unusual insight into the challenges and dynamics facing volunteer organizations, faith-based groups, and various non-profit entities.

Paul's extensive experience and wisdom contribute substantially to our law firm's continued dedication and effectiveness in providing focused legal expertise to nonprofits.

Professional Involvement
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  • American Bar Association, Nonprofit Organizations Committee, Religious Organizations subcommittee (Chair), Cyberspace Institute
  • TEGE Exempt Organizations Council
  • DePaul University Workplace Environment Committee (WEC)
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity
  • Christian Legal Society
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals
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  • Religious Tax Reclassification for Public Charities, Co-author with Sally Wagenmaker and Ryan Oberly Taxation of Exempts (January/February 2022)
  • "The California Consumer Privacy Act - What Nonprofits Need to Know," Co-author with Jonathan S. Hwang, Taxation of Exempts July 2019)
  • When to Report Child Abuse: Reporting Obligations for Religious Leaders, The Ledger, National Association of Church Business Administration, Vol. 33, Number 1, Spring 2014
  • Whom Must the Clergy Protect? The Interests of At-Risk Children in Conflict with Clergy-Penitent Privilege, DePaul Law Review Fall 2012, 62 DePaul L. Rev. 187
  • The Erosion of Federal Common Law: Anticipatory Delegation in American Electric Power Company V. Connecticut, Buffalo Environmental Law Journal 2011-2012 19 Buff. Envtl. L.J. 341
Community Involvement
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Speaking Engagements
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  • Pivotal Transitions for Not-for-Profit Corporations, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2023)
  • Dissolutions for Not-for-Profit Corporations, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2023)
  • Data Privacy Update - Should Nonprofits be Concerned? Chicago Bar Association (2022)
  • Global and U.S. Data Privacy Update, Christian Legal Society National Conference (2022)
  • Global and U.S. Data Privacy and Security Legal Frameworks, Batts Morrison Wales and Lee Nonprofit Conference (2021)
  • Hot Topics for Today's Non-Profit Leaders: Avoid the Pitfalls and Stay Compliant, NonprofitWebAdvisor (2019)
  • A Nonprofit Duet: Ethics for Attorneys Serving on Nonprofit Boards, and Protecting Section 501(c)(3) Status Post-Obergefell, Christian Legal Society National Conference (2018)
  • Complaints, Cybersecurity, and Currency - Best Practices Policies for Effective Ministry Management, Missio Nexus (2018)
  • Cybersecurity, Data, and the Internet of Thing, New York Law School/Loyola University Chicago - Rooftops Conference Chicago (2018)
  • My House? Your House? Our House? When Not-for-Profits Wish to Co-Locate, New York Law School/Loyola University College of Law Rooftops Conference Chicago (2016)
  • Art in Sacred Places, United Methodist Church Trustees' Space-Sharing Workshop (2015)
  • 1023-EZ: Lessons and Considerations from the Form's First Ninth Months, Chicago Bar Association (2015)
  • Incorporating a Nonprofit, Engaged Encounter National Conference (2014)
Adjunct teaching engagements
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  • DePaul University College of Law (2014 - present)
  • Northwestern University School of Professional Studies (2016 - present), Professional Development Faculty Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award (2023)



M.Div. Trinity International University, magna cum laude
J.D. DePaul University College of Law, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
B.A. Virginia Tech

Bar Admissions

New York
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Speaking Engagements
Adjunct Teaching Engagements
Professional Involvement
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