Robertson Law Office
Having worked in it and observed it for years, Emily Robertson has a passion for the nonprofit sector. But when she decided to make it the focus of her law practice, she knew she might be limited in how she could approach it.
“I practice in a niche of law that really only lends itself to a big firm or a solo practice,” she said. “I’m not a big-firm type of person, so it was an easy decision.”
Robertson opened her solo practice in 2011, and since then she’s developed a niche practice that advises nonprofits about tax-exempt status, entity formation and legal obligations. She also participates in a clinic at William Mitchell School of Law, her alma mater, for tax-exempt organizations.
“I worked in the nonprofit sector in college, and I knew a lot of attorneys who worked with nonprofits,” she recalled. “When I got to know a lot of the people in that industry it made me want to go to law school and make working with them a profession.”
Robertson also advises nonprofits on the finer points of running their organization, such as staying compliant with laws regulating fundraising activities and how to most effectively engage in lobbying or policy advocacy.
“I get to work with nonprofits who do a wide variety of things and who otherwise might not cross my radar,” said Robertson. “I also work with a lot of startup organizations where someone has put a lot of their own money into making it work. That takes a different level of passion. People really care about the issues they’re working for.”
But just because Robertson takes her practice seriously doesn’t mean she takes her profession totally seriously: Last year she co-wrote and co-starred in a short play for Minneapolis’s Fringe Festival. The title: “… Kill all the Lawyers.”