Certification Programs, Standard-Setting and Tort Liability Counsel for Nonprofits

Certification and standard-setting.

Venable has extensive experience in standard-setting, certification and accreditation matters. Examples of our work include:

  • serving as ethics counsel for the member ethics enforcement program of the Project Management Institute;
  • overturning a promulgated standard on American National Standards Institute (ANSI) procedural grounds for a consortium of associations led by the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association;
  • advising the Association of Clinical Research Professionals on the overhaul of its membership code of ethics;
  • developing a professional certification program for the Construction Financial Management Association, now operated by an affiliated entity we created;
  • advising the Composite Panel Association on voluntary ANSI standards involving formaldehyde emissions and the America Lumber Standard Committee in its oversight of lumber grading in the United States and Canada;
  • assisting the American Society for Training and Development with the creation of a program to certify e-learning software, followed by the creation of a professional certification program;
  • advising the American Society of Civil Engineers on its member ethics program;
  • preparing enforcement procedures for the new mandatory safety and environmental standards promulgated by the International Council of Cruise Lines;
  • counseling the Information Technology Industry Council on all aspects of its consensus standards-making process; and
  • advising the Tire Industry Association, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association and the National Propane Gas Association on technician-certification programs.

Tort liability counsel.

Our counsel on certification programs and standard-setting extends beyond the realm of antitrust into tort liability, defamation, due process, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and the taxation of certification program income.  Our attorneys have handled numerous cases involving conspiracy allegations against trade associations regarding product liability claims against industry products.

In addition, the risk of tort liability plays a particularly significant role in the advice we give to clients in areas ranging from online job banks and referral programs to endorsements, advertising, technical manuals, training programs and consulting services.  For instance, we regularly review association-sponsored industry advertising for claim substantiation and other legal risks. Venable attorneys have been innovative and successful in helping trade associations minimize the tort and antitrust liability risks of their membership, certification, standard-setting and related programs.