Professor Joel L. Fleishman receives ABA’s Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Award

May 22, 2008Duke Law News

May 22, 2008 — The American Bar Association has honored Professor Joel L. Fleishman with its 2008 Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Award.

A professor of law and public policy studies, Fleishman serves as director of the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Center for Ethics, Public Policy, and the Professions at Duke University’s Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. He is also director of the Foundation Strategy and Impact Research Program in Durham.

A prolific writer, Fleishman’s recent scholarship focuses on public trust in not-for-profit organizations. His latest book is The Foundation: A Great American Secret—How Private Wealth is Changing the World (Public Affairs Books, 2007).

“Of course, I feel honored by it — and all the more so since it came out of the blue,” Fleishman said of the award, one of four granted by the ABA’s Nonprofit Corporations Committee. “The fact that the American Bar Association is now giving awards to those of us who are making nonprofit law our major focus suggests that our field is gaining both more acceptance in the profession and that a larger number of lawyers and law students choosing to practice in the field.

“In view of the growth in the number of U.S. nonprofits — now about 2 million organizations — and in the size of annual nonprofits’ expenditures — about $1.6 trillion annually, the need for skilled legal counseling is greater than ever, and awards such as that which was bestowed on me can help accelerate the fulfillment of that need,” he said.

Calling Fleishman a “modern Renaissance Man,” Professor Charles Clotfelter said the award was well deserved, based on his colleague’s exceptional breadth of knowledge and experience, ranging from founding one of the country’s most prominent public policy programs, to running Duke University’s first major capital campaign, to presiding over a major private foundation.

“Known internationally, he is a warm and stimulating colleague and he is a demanding and much revered teacher to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,” said Clotfelter, Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy Studies and Professor of Economics and Law, and director of Duke’s Center of the Study of Philanthropy & Voluntarism. “For hundreds of individuals around the world, Joel Fleishman is the human face of Duke University and the state of North Carolina.”
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