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Senior Editorial Advisor

Erika E. Cole

Erika E. Cole

Erika E. Cole

Erika E. Cole, Esq., known as The Church Attorney®, is one of only a handful of attorneys in the nation who practices exclusively in the area of church law. Erika has dedicated her life to being willing to help churches of all denominations and sizes ensure that their legal affairs are in order so they can focus on spreading their message, serving their communities, and growing their ministries.

For nearly two decades, Erika has partnered with ministries to address everything from church planting and new leadership transitions to buying and selling property, succession planning, and helping leadership address the spectrum of governance matters. Leading churches and denominations have selected her to serve as their General Counsel. When she isn’t serving as General Counsel for her clients, she has also assisted churches and ministries in obtaining 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with a 100% success rate.

Whether handling an unexpected legal crisis or legal audit or helping churches through the buying, selling, and construction of property, Erika’s philosophy has remained the same: to provide the same level of excellence, diligence, and counsel across the board.

She has shared her skills by teaching the next generation of lawyers and community leaders as a past professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and Loyola College of Maryland in their MBA program.

Her calling to support churches and empower its leaders propelled her to join a year-long mission in Latin America where she worked with churches and their members and advanced human rights. Upon returning, she started a missions ministry at her own church and subsequently participated in almost a dozen other mission trips.

Erika’s reputation as a thought leader in the church law community has attracted a myriad of opportunities, such as:

2011: Appointed to the Panel of Legal Experts for the Commission of Accountability for Religious Organizations.

2013: Appointed to Board of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

2016: Admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court.

2017: Combined her law firm with Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP, a law firm with more than 160 attorneys, providing an expanded platform for her services as The Church Attorney®.

Erika became an Editorial Advisor for Church Law & Tax in 2017, and a Senior Editorial Advisor in 2020.

Erika and her husband Brien are happily married and are the loving parents of two sons.

Recent Articles by Erika E. Cole View All


Learning From Mars Hill: Who Pilots Your Church? Member access only

Why quiet governance changes run the risk of eroding congregational trust.
The Dangers of a Quiet Governance Change

The Dangers of a Quiet Governance Change Member access only

Subtly shifting who has authority to make key decisions in your church may make sense—but may also erode congregational trust.

On-Demand Webinar: Should My Church Consider a Merger Right Now? Member access only

The critical information church leaders should know if they are thinking about a merger.
Is a Merger the Right Next Step for Your Church?

Is a Merger the Right Next Step for Your Church? Member access only

A primer on how to do it right.
Finalizing a Merger

Finalizing a Merger Member access only

Moving through the final stages of merging churches—and other options if a merger is not right for you.
The Documents Needed for a Successful Church Merger

The Documents Needed for a Successful Church Merger Member access only

Be sure you collect all the needed paperwork to keep the process moving forward.
Deciding Factors for a Sound Merger

Deciding Factors for a Sound Merger Member access only

Picking the right leaders to decide vision, name, location, staffing—and more.
What Are the Consequences of Canceling an Off-Site Church Event?

What Are the Consequences of Canceling an Off-Site Church Event? Member access only

What churches should consider if they are under contract for a venue.