Attorneys who are compensated for preparing all or substantially all of the IRS exemption applications (Forms 1023 or 1024) must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) for 2012. Pro bono attorneys who help startup nonprofits are not required to have a PTIN if they prepare such Forms without compensation.
If you think nobody was paying attention to the PTIN requirements that went into effect in 2011, the IRS announced in July that it would send letters to approximately 100,000 tax return preparers who prepared returns in 2011 but failed to follow the new requirements. 712,000 preparers registered by the date of the announcement, but if they continue preparing tax returns (including Forms 1023 and 1024), they must renew such registrations for 2012. Attorneys are exempt from the competency testing and continuing education requirements. Supervised preparers, including those who are employed by a law firm, supervised by an attorney, and don't sign tax returns, are also exempt.
For attorneys who will be granted with power of attorney to represent their clients before the IRS, Form 2848 (Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative) was updated in October 2011 and includes a new designation for registered tax preparers (though attorneys may choose instead to designate themselves as an attorney).