Nicholas P. Cafardi


Contact Information

Practice Areas

Bar Admissions

  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Professional Memberships

  • Canon Law Society of America


University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D.
University of Thomas Aquinas, Rome, Italy

Nicholas P. Cafardi

Nicholas Cafardi, Ph. B., M.A., J.D., J.C.L., J.C.D

Nicholas P. Cafardi holds a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Doctor of Canon Law degree from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He has served as general counsel for two of Pittsburgh’s largest charitable organizations: the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University. He is a former assistant dean at the University of Pittsburgh Law School and a former dean of Duquesne University School of Law.

Cafardi was the founding chair of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Commission on Racial and Gender Bias and was a guiding co-author of its massive Report on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System. Cafardi was also an original member of the United States Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth and served as its chair from 2004-2005. He is also a co-author of the National Review Board’s Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States. Cafardi is one of the foremost lay canon lawyers in the United States. As a civil and canon lawyer, Cafardi has represented both Catholic and non-Catholic religious organizations, such as parishes, dioceses and religious orders and major health care systems across the nation. He is the founder of Duquesne Law School’s Summer Study of Law at the Vatican, and taught the canon law course in that program for a decade. Cafardi is also a former member of the Board of Governors of the Canon Law Society of America.

In additional to his expertise in church law, Cafardi is also an acknowledged authority in the law of nonprofit, tax exempt organizations. His casebook, Tax Exempt Organizations, was the first of its kind in the country, and is in its third edition.  The casebook, together with his how-to text, Understanding Nonprofit and Tax Exempt Organizations (2nd ed.), are both published by LexisNexis, one of the nation’s largest legal publishers.   Since 1985, Cafardi has had a Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Rated Lawyer Recognition as one of the top lawyers in his field of nonprofit law.