Friday, July 16, 2021
I have been slow in getting to this, but last month the Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the ABA Business Law Section announced its 2021 Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Award recipients. While most of the recipients are practicing lawyers, each year the Committee awards an Outstanding Academic Award, This year's award went to Assistant Professor Priya Baskaran at American University's Washington College of Law. Here is her bio from the award announcement:
Priya Baskaran is an Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic (ELC) at American University Washington College of Law. Professor Baskaran is the founder and current director of the ELC, which provides free transactional legal services to organizations dedicated to economic justice and revitalization in greater Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the faculty at American University Washington College of Law, Professor Baskaran was an Associate Professor at West Virginia University College of Law where she taught in the Business Law curriculum and served as the Director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Law Clinic (EILC). Professor Baskaran has dedicated her teaching career to furthering economic justice in both urban and rural communities through transactional law. In West Virginia, she launched a novel program to address access to justice barriers faced by nonprofits and community organizations. Professor Baskaran partnered with Legal Aid of West Virginia to train transactional pro-bono attorneys and expand legal services across the state. As part of this collaboration Professor Baskaran provided ongoing training for Legal Aid attorneys on nonprofit organizations and relevant tax regulations. She also served as co-counsel for cases, assisting Legal Aid attorneys in more complex representations. In addition to her work with rural communities, Professor Baskaran also taught in the Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center where she was a Visiting Professor and Supervising Attorney. Professor Baskaran previously worked as a Staff Attorney for the Community and Economic Development Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, where she provided transactional legal services to community-based organizations, non-profits, and small businesses in the City of Detroit.
Professor Baskaran’s publication and advocacy record reflects her passion for pursuing economic justice through transactional lawyering. She has written extensively on using transactional law and social enterprise to further economic justice. She has also worked closely with nonprofit organizations advocating for economic enfranchisement of returning citizens, including testifying before the West Virginia State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. As a teacher, Professor Baskaran encourages her students to embrace opportunities to facilitate change and support the public interest through transactional lawyering. She reminds students that such opportunities are not just limited to public interest careers, but through meaningful pro-bono engagements available to all attorneys—including those in traditional corporate practice.
Professor Baskaran is a graduate of New York University and the University of Michigan Law School.