Jonathan Robert Nelson

Jonathan Robert Nelson

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in New York, NY

Nelson Madden Black LLP
 | 551 Fifth Ave, 31st Fl
New York, NY 10176
Phone: 212-382-4300
Fax: 212-382-4319
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1988
Practice Areas:
  • Business Litigation (50%),
  • Nonprofit Organizations (20%),
  • Business/Corporate (10%),
  • Constitutional Law (10%),
  • Estate & Trust Litigation (10%)
Languages Spoken:
  • English,
  • French,
  • Spanish
Attorney Profile

My partners and I are dedicated to the representation of churches, synagogues, temples and other religious institutions and individuals. I am an experienced litigator on issues relating to church governance and rights, including First Amendment, defamation, real property ownership, trusteeship, Article 9 and Article 10 religious corporations and other similar matters.  

Nelson Madden Black LLP is a full-service law firm for the religious community. My partners and I advise and represent the religious community on issues relating to the formation and governance of religious corporations, tax exemption, real estate, construction, employment, constitutional and civil rights, finance, clergy relations, dispute resolution, government relations, internal investigation and other matters. Of the three founding partners of our firm, two are Christian lawyers and one is a Jewish lawyer, but we are committed to serving the faithful of all religious communities without discrimination. 

Over the past twenty-five years, my own law practice has gravitated increasingly toward representation of the religious community. The most widely-publicized matter that I have handled was the case of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church v. City of New York, in which I acted as lead counsel for the plaintiffs. Through litigation, we successfully defended the church's rights, based on the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, to conduct a program of outreach that included allowing homeless neighbors to sleep on the steps of the church. 

You will find more information relating to my law practice at  I welcome the opportunity to discuss the ways in which my law firm might be of service to you or your religious community.

About Jonathan Nelson

Admitted: 1988, New York

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • President, New York City Metro Chapter, Christian Legal Society, 2017

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Member of Session, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1997
  • Trustee, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1991
  • Secretary, Yale Club of Chicago, 1986
  • Former President, Fletcher Club of New York

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • Law Review article examining role of Second Circuit Court of Appeals and US Supreme Court in development of the "presumption of arbitrability," and arguing that the presumption, as applied, is inconsistent with Congressional intent as expressed in the Federal Arbitration Act., Author, JUDGE-MADE LAW AND THE PRESUMPTION OF ARBITRABILITY: DAVID L. THRELKELD & CO. v. METALLGESELLSCHAFT LTD., Brooklyn Law Review (58 Brook. L. Rev. 279), Arbitration, Commodities, 1992

Representative Clients:

  • Gita Temple Ashram and Swami Satyanandji - Temple - Ashram v. Satyanandji, 142 A.D.3d 1132, 38 N.Y.S.3d 245 (2nd Dep't 2016), 2016
  • Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (lead counsel, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church v. City of New York, 293 F.3d 570 (2nd Cir. 2002), 2004 WL 2471406 (S.D.N.Y. 2004))

Educational Background:

  • M.A., The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, 1984
  • B.A., Yale University, 1978

Industry Groups

  • Religious
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Office Location for Jonathan Robert Nelson

551 Fifth Ave
31st Fl
New York, NY 10176

Jonathan Robert Nelson:

Last Updated: 4/4/2019

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