Victoria B. Bjorklund is a Retired Partner of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she founded and headed the Firm’s Exempt Organizations Group, which advises public charities, private foundations, boards, and donors.
Victoria was named "2014 Nonprofit Lawyer of the Year" by her peers in Best Lawyers Magazine. The 2013 Legal 500 described her as “[t]he highly respected … dean of the practice” in awarding both top-tier and leading lawyer rankings. In 2012, she received the Vanguard Award for Lifetime Achievement and Commitment to Nonprofit Law from the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section, recognizing her distinguished lifetime achievement and role in development of the field of nonprofit law. Victoria chaired the ABA Tax Section Committee on Exempt Organizations from 2000-2002 and has since served as Co-Chair of the Subcommittee on International Philanthropy. She was honored in 2002 as the ABA Tax Section “Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year” in recognition of her 9/11 work and also accepted the “Pro Bono Firm of the Year” award from the NYS Bar Association in recognition of the Firm’s 9/11 work. She was also honored by The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York City and Lawyers Alliance of New York, Inc. for her leadership after 9/11. In 2003, she received the Commissioner’s Award, the highest honor the Commissioner of Internal Revenue can bestow, for her “timely, creative and nimble response to 9/11’s unprecedented legal challenges.” In 2010, she was named a Power Woman by MOVES Magazine and awarded the Segal-Tweed Founders Award from The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She was a David Rockefeller Fellow for 1997-1998 as a rising civic leader in New York City.
Victoria served on NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s Leadership Committee on Nonprofit Revitalization. From 2000 - 2005, Victoria served as one of six exempt-organization members on the IRS’s Tax Exempt/Government Entities Advisory Committee (ACT), and as Chair in 2004-2005. In 2005, she received the IRS Tax Exempt Division Commissioner’s Award for “ground-breaking service” to the ACT.
Since 1989, Victoria has served as a director, secretary, pro bono legal counsel, and advisor for Doctors Without Borders, the emergency medical relief organization that was awarded the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize. She is also a director of the Robin Hood Foundation, where she chairs the Robin Hood Relief Fund. She is a director of the American Friends of the Louvre, the Louvre Endowment, Friends of Fondation de France, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Princeton University, Nutrition Science Initative (NuSI), and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Victoria speaks and writes frequently on exempt-organization subjects, including “Choosing Among Private Foundations, Supporting Organizations, and Donor-Advised Funds.” She is the co-author with Jim Fishman and Dan Kurtz of New York Nonprofit Law and Practice (LexisNexis, 3d Ed. 2015). She also teaches The Law of Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard Law School.
She earned her J.D. at Columbia University School of Law, a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Yale University, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Princeton University, where she graduated in three years and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Victoria was the Co-Chair of the Firm’s Diversity Committee for nearly a decade and a former Co-Chair of its Pro Bono Committee.