Victoria Bjorklund ’83

Nonprofit Rockstar

Winter 2012

When Victoria Bjorklund ’83 shook hands with members of the Rolling Stones at Radio City Music Hall one evening in 2006, the meeting represented more than an opportunity to interact with rock ‘n’ roll royalty. The band performed that night in support of the Robin Hood Foundation, a nonprofit organization working to end poverty in New York City, and Bjorklund, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and founder of the firm’s exempt organizations practice group, drafted the contract for the benefit.

“I work on the legal plumbing behind the scenes so that charities can focus on their missions,” says Bjorklund, who also serves as a member of New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s Leadership Committee on Nonprofit Revitalization.

After September 11, many nonprofit organizations in New York City shifted their focus to helping victims, their families, and the small businesses affected by the terrorist attacks. Bjorklund quickly took note, engaging in intensive pro bono work and providing invaluable legal expertise during relief efforts. That work earned her widespread recognition, including from the American Bar Association’s business law section, which honored Bjorklund with its Vanguard Award for Lifetime Achievement and Commitment to Nonprofit Law in 2012.

Bjorklund has served as the pro bono legal counsel for Doctors Without Borders since 1988. One of the proudest moments of her career, she says, was when that organization, which provides medical care to the needy around the world, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.

“The contact I have with people while working in this field is intensely gratifying,” says Bjorklund. “I can’t think of a more fulfilling field of law.”