Terence Dougherty joined the ACLU in 2005 and since then has developed an in house legal team that advises the organization on all internal legal matters, including nonprofit governance, charity law, lobbying and political campaign activities, ethics rules and FEC, intellectual property, contract, endowment fund and litigation matters. In addition to serving as the in-house General Counsel, he is the organization's Assistant Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining the ACLU, Terence practiced law at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, where he represented numerous nonprofit organizations, including educational institutions, advocacy organizations, private foundations, museums and donor advised funds. Prior to that, he practiced tax law at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.
Dougherty has over a decade of experience working with nonprofit organizations on a wide range of legal issues, and he regularly lectures and gives CLE trainings. Dougherty co-authored an article in 2010, "Newspapers as Tax-Exempt Entities: The Newspaper Revitalization Act of 2009," that addresses proposed legislation that would grant tax-exempt status to certain newspaper entities. He assisted in the preparation of a section of the 2005 Independent Sector, Panel on the Nonprofit Sector's Final Report to Congress and the Nonprofit Sector, "Strengthening Transparency, Governance and Accountability of Charitable Organizations." He is the author of a series of policy studies published by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force in 2004 and 2005 on the economic detriment to same-sex couples resulting from their inability to enter into marriages recognized under federal and state law. He is a contributor to and the coeditor with Martha Fineman of Feminism Confronts Homo Economics, a collection of essays published by Cornell University Press in 2005 that addresses the negative impact of neoclassical economic theory on the study and practice of law.
Dougherty is a graduate of Oberlin College and Columbia Law School, where he was a James Kent Scholar and a recipient of a Human Rights Internship Fellowship. During law school, he interned with Hon. Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, and with Hon. Cheryl Valandra of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court in South Dakota.
In 2008, Dougherty was appointed as a Commissioner of the Women's Refugee Commission. Since 2005, he has served as a member of the board of directors of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and has sat on the Government Relations Committee of the Non-Profit Coordinating Committee. He is a former member of the boards of the Columbia University School of Law Alumni Association and the Ohio Public Interest Research Group.
Dougherty is a native New Yorker. Prior to attending law school, he worked as writer assistant to feminist cultural critic Bell Hooks and as a kindergarten teacher at a homeless shelter in the South Bronx.