New England Legal Foundation
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About NELF

Who We Are

NELF was founded in 1977. Our 46-person Board of Directors is composed of senior corporate and law firm attorneys, mostly General Counsel and Managing Partners, representing major corporations and law firms from all six New England states. NELF is also assisted by Advisory Councils of leading business and law firm representatives in each New England State who help us ensure that the Foundation is aware of emerging issues throughout the region.

We currently have a full-time legal staff of three attorneys, including NELF's President and Acting General Counsel Martin Newhouse, Senior Staff Attorney Ben Robbins, and Staff Attorney John Pagliaro. Our office is administered by Maria Karatalidis.

We do not charge attorneys' fees for our services, and are dependent on tax deductible contributions from businesses, law firms, individuals and charitable foundations to perform our mission.

What We Believe

NELF believes that free enterprise is one linchpin of a democratic social system that seeks general freedom from material want. We believe that the free market system is the best system, but imperfect. We believe that a moderately conservative approach to the market and to social regulation of the market is the best approach.

We believe strongly in due process. We oppose laws and regulations which are a usurpation of governmental authority or which constitute a taking without just compensation. We also oppose laws and regulations which have no rational likelihood of achieving their stated purpose, even if the purpose of the law or regulation is not one to which we object.

We believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant for policy disputes. Whether through the filing of amicus briefs, educational conferences, op ed pieces or other public advocacy, we believe that a free society will reach the best decision if an issue is exposed thoroughly and for sufficient duration.

Our Mission

New England Legal Foundation (NELF) is the only non-profit public interest law firm in the region addressing policy and constitutional concerns related to free enterprise. Its mission is promoting public discourse on the proper role of free enterprise in our society and advancing free enterprise principles in the courtroom. The Foundationís approach is non-partisan and is based on the premise that while the free market should not be left entirely unregulated, it usually provides the greatest opportunity for the greatest number when left free from unwarranted intrusion.

Our Work

The Foundation handles precedent setting cases that involve business, financial and economic issues. The most common subject areas on our docket are government regulation, property rights, taxation and employment law. 

The Foundation deals with cases that involve economic or commercial questions, and does not become involved in social issues. Cases are selected for their likelihood of creating precedent that will have policy and/or constitutional impact for the business community and society as a whole. We select cases in which we can make policy, legislative history or empirical arguments which are not featured, or at least not emphasized, in the partiesí briefs. NELF does not file "me too" pleadings.

The Foundation also has a tradition of pursuing a few cases in which NELF directly represents a party from the ground up, beginning at the trial court or agency level. This often involves an individual or small business that has exhausted its resources in a struggle to resist unfair or inappropriate governmental action.


150 Lincoln Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02111 (617) 695-3660          Vigorous Advocacy of Free Market Principles