West Midlands law firm, Challinors, has scored top marks for its handling of a merger between the National Governors' Council and the National Association of School Governors.
The newly-combined organisation, the National Governors' Association, now presents a stronger voice and resource for 350,000 school governors in England.
Challinors was appointed by the NGC to facilitate the merger process.
Formerly, the NGC comprised associations and bodies of local groups of governors, while the NASG represented thousands of governors on an individual membership basis.
School governors play a vital role in education. They have responsibility for appointing the head teacher, ensuring the health and safety of pupils and overseeing the school budget, collectively worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
They also liaise with the local education authority and Government and have a direct input into the educational consultation process.
Jean McEntire, chief executive of the newly merged organisation, said: "The creation of the National Governor's Association delivers the strongest representation for our members and the best possible use of resources. Achieving an effective and pain free merger that was supported by our 200,000 members was in no short part due to the high level of support we received from Challinors.
"Although a national force, the merged organisations are Birmingham-based. We were keen to use a practice in Birmingham that we had confidence in to take us through the process, especially as no one within either of the charities had any experience of a merger."
Malford Harris, partner in corporate and charity law, who led the Challinors team, said: "One of the biggest challenges was the need to keep both charities' members fully
involved in the process. Unlike takeovers, mergers only truly succeed if they have the full support of the merged organisations."
An e-forum was launched, allowing members the opportunity to voice any concerns and receive information and reassurance via email.
Mr Harris went on: "Challinors' and NGC's merger team's prompt response to questions and concerns was one of the key factors in securing members' buy in. Given that many governors lead busy lives, the opportunity to communicate at a time and place handy for them was vital."
Challinors' involvement included due diligence, the development of a new constitution, extensive liaison with the NGC merger team, over-seeing the merging of assets, premises and staff and ensuring charity law compliance.
The not for profit sector is a growing area of practise for Mr Harris.
He has acted for housing co-operatives, industrial co-operatives, charities, educational establishments, particularly further education colleges, Business Link and a number of other recreational clubs and societies.
He acts for, and provides constitutional advice to, the Federation of Master Build-ers, the British Non-Ferrous Metals Federation, and the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And he acts for the Countryside Agency in connection with a number of their grant schemes.