On March 23, 2012, our own Emily Chan was selected by the Nonprofit Organizations Committee (Business Law Section) of the American Bar Association as the 2012 recipient of the Committee's Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer – Young Attorney Award. Congratulations, Emily! The highly prestigious award is given for outstanding contributions to the nonprofit sector and/or the development of nonprofit law. The following is an excerpt of Emily's nomination:
Emily Chan is the principal contributor to the Nonprofit Law Blog with over 60 posts to her credit; author or co-author of articles published by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Nonprofit Quarterly, About.com, Blue Avocado, and the American Bar Association; a popular speaker on nonprofit legal issues for numerous organizations including BoardSource, CompassPoint, Net Impact, the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership, Lawline, the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF), and several exempt organizations committees of CalCPA; a regular contributor to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio; a volunteer director on the boards of At The Crossroads and Streetside Stories; an active participant of the BASF Barrister Club’s Pro Bono and Community Service committee; an alumni coach for the Hastings Moot Court Competition Team; a volunteer judge for the 2010-2011 ABA Moot Court Competition and 2012 ABA Regional Representation in Mediation Competition; a guest lecturer for three courses at the University of San Francisco; one of the most popular nonprofit and exempt organizations attorneys on Twitter with [more than] 700 followers; and an outstanding attorney for her clients. She is currently scheduled to be a presenter at the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence (ANE) Annual Conference in Memphis.
Emily’s contributions to public understanding of legal issues affecting nonprofits include articles and speeches on the following topics: governance (e.g., Emerging Legal Questions for Today’s Boardroom, BoardSource Leadership Forum; Board Meeting Minutes, Nonprofit Law Blog), current events (Avoiding Trouble: What Nonprofits Can Learn From Sex-Abuse Scandal and 'Three Cups of Tea' Scandal Offers Lessons for Charities and Trustees, The Chronicle of Philanthropy); boards and advisory boards (e.g., Advisory Board v. Board of Directors – A Distinction with a Difference, Nonprofit Law Blog), youth board members (Youth Board Members: Can minors serve on a nonprofit board? Nonprofit Law Blog), fiscal sponsorship (e.g., Fiscal Sponsorship for Arts Organizations, ODC Theatre), social enterprises (e.g., Earned Income 101, Nonprofit Webinars), and social media (e.g., “I Thought We Were Friends!” Can Nonprofits Terminate Employees for Their Social Media Posts? Nonprofit Quarterly).
Emily’s commitment to serving the legal needs of the nonprofit sector are best exemplified by her decision to start her legal career at a small firm serving nonprofits despite having stellar academic qualifications that would have allowed her to pursue more financially lucrative positions at bigger firms; her initiative, without management direction, to contribute more than 250 pro bono and community service hours in 2011; her dedication to educating nonprofits through traditional and social media channels; and her diligence in providing helpful and accessible counsel to her clients.
The biggest joy of my professional career has been working with Emily and seeing her development and contributions to the nonprofit sector. To me, she best exemplifies how a young attorney can make an immediate impact on the sector and enhance the public image of lawyers working in this area.