Gene Takagi, a former Outstanding Barrister of the Year (Bar Association of San Francisco), is a California nonprofit attorney who has provided corporate, tax, and governance counsel to hundreds of nonprofit clients. He has successfully helped strengthen nonprofits and social enterprises with responsive and comprehensible guidance in areas including: formation, tax-exempt status, governance, legal compliance, document review, collaborations, mergers, earned income, advocacy, international activities, and dissolution. He is also part of the adjunct faculty of the University of San Francisco, where he is teaching the Nonprofit Law Course in the School of Business. You can follow Gene on Twitter.
Big Firm Experience. Gene began his legal career in 2001 with the AmLaw 100 firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, working with many large institutional clients on corporate and transactional matters. His nonprofit clients while at Sheppard Mullin included a major new museum, local chamber of commerce, and a statewide association of accountants. During this time, he received several awards and national recognition for his community service. In order to further his passion to serve nonprofits, Gene started his independent practice in 2005.
Substantial Management Experience. With an extensive management background, including a graduate degree in nonprofit administration, to complement his legal experience, Gene understands the value of providing counsel that clients will understand and use to strengthen their organizations. This approach has helped him serve clients ranging from small grassroots charities to major national organizations. Gene’s past management positions include director of the medical and animal behavior divisions of the San Francisco SPCA and operations manager of a major specialty retailer. He has managed annual budgets of over $50 million and prepared RFPs for projects worth over $500 million.
Author & Speaker. Gene is the contributing publisher of the Nonprofit Law Blog and a published writer and popular speaker on nonprofit legal issues. He has written for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Practical Lawyer (ALI-ABA), Business Law Today (ABA), Taxation of Exempts, Blue Avocado, Nonprofit Conversation, and Lorman Education Services, and was technical editor for the Nonprofit Kit for Dummies. He has spoken at numerous events for the American Bar Association, Bar Association of San Francisco, committees of the State Bar of California, California Society of CPAs, Law.com, Lawline, CompassPoint, Foundation Center, California Association of Nonprofits, Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership, Western Museums Association, Revisioning Value, Northern California Planned Giving Council, and many other organizations. Additionally, Gene is an adjunct faculty member teaching nonprofit law at the University of San Francisco and has guest lectured at Stanford University.
Pro Bono & Community Service. Gene is a well-known advocate of pro bono work and community service. His pro bono work and advocacy has led to recognition by the Bar Association of San Francisco, VLSP, the Mayor of Newark, and Equal Justice Magazine. He currently serves on the board of Community Initiatives (fka CIF of the San Francisco Foundation) and has previously served on the boards of Net Impact, JCYC, Community Thrift Store, and Barristers Club. He has also volunteered with a number of local charities, including the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (where he used to lead trainings of pro bono attorneys). In October 2010, Gene participated as an invited delegate in the Opportunity Collaboration four-day international poverty alleviation conference.
Other Activities. Gene has been playing volleyball in the gym and on the beach for 25 years. Currently, Gene is trying to get his musical mojo back (he was an award-winning saxophonist back in the day). His past adventures include skydiving, white water rafting, rock climbing, chasing a thief through an airport, and nearly getting decapitated (twice!) in two separate bike wipeouts.
Education. Gene earned a law degree from UCLA, master of nonprofit administration degree from USF, and a bachelor of science degree from the University of British Columbia.
Emily Chan is the 2012 Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer - Young Attorney awarded by the American Bar Association (Business Law Section, Nonprofit Organizations Committee). Emily is a contributor to the Nonprofit Law Blog and has authored over 60 articles on nonprofit legal issues. She has also had her work published by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Nonprofit Quarterly, About.com (a part of The New York Times Company), Business Law Today (ABA), and Blue Avocado. Additionally, Emily speaks to groups including CompassPoint, BoardSource, Net Impact, Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence, Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership, Bar Association of San Francisco, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and local committees of the California Society of CPAs and has guest lectured for several MBA classes at the University of San Francisco. You can follow Emily on Twitter.
Community Service Policy
Pursuant to our Community Service Policy, each of our attorneys is committed to currently serving on the board of directors of at least one charity, completing a minimum of 100 hours of community and pro bono services each year, participating in bar association activities, and regularly contributing information to the community. All community service projects are to be accepted, with approval of the principal attorney, through an established legal services provider or because of a deep personal connection to the particular charity and its mission. We shall substantially contribute to the change we seek in the world.
We are committed to strengthening the nonprofit sector. We regularly create and share information with the public through the Nonprofit Law Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. We also write papers for professional journals, speak at conferences and continuing legal education programs, and lecture at universities. Our targeted community services currently include board service with Community Initiatives (formerly CIF of the San Francisco Foundation); pro bono services to JCYC, Net Impact, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, and other organizations through the CORP program of the Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) of the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF); and participation on the VLSP Leadership Council and Pro Bono Committee of BASF. In addition, because of the alarming lack of diversity among leaders of nonprofits, we periodically hold free seminars for leaders and emerging leaders who are also members of minority groups. Gene typically provides over 250 hours of community and pro bono services each year.
Representative Nonprofit Clients