Firm Overview

Tenenbaum Law Group PLLC is a nationally recognized, five-attorney, Washington, DC-based, boutique law firm specializing in the representation of nonprofit organizations and related entities across the United States. Serving primarily as outside general counsel, the firm advises senior management and boards of directors of charities, trade and professional associations, international NGOs, conservation groups, think tanks, arts and cultural institutions, foundations, educational and health care institutions, and other nonprofits – as well as companies and executives that work with or provide services to nonprofits – on the broad array of legal issues and challenges they face. The firm brings decades of Big Law experience to bear with small firm cost-efficiency, responsiveness, and turnaround time. With a focus on workable, impactful solutions, spirited defense and advocacy, a practical understanding of the broader nonprofit context and best practices, and attorneys who take their work – but not themselves – very seriously, TLG prides itself on partnering with its clients in a strategic manner to help ensure maximum effectiveness and results, all while exercising great judgment.

Managing Partner Jeff Tenenbaum is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most accomplished nonprofit legal practitioners, a top leader in the nonprofit bar, a frequent media commentator and expert witness on nonprofit legal issues, and a distinguished thought leader and active participant in the nonprofit legal community. Partner Nisha Thakker has spent most of her 15-year legal career in-house in the nonprofit legal world, bringing a unique, invaluable perspective to the practice. Counsel Susan Hamsher spent the majority of her 13-year legal career as an in-house attorney at The Nature Conservancy – one of the world’s largest charities – and most recently was a senior associate at a boutique Washington, DC law firm focused exclusively on the representation of nonprofit organizations. Counsel Holly Peterson is an attorney with significant experience in the association and nonprofit, employment, and education sectors, most recently serving in a senior role on the Legal Resources Team and Leadership Team at the National Association of College and University Attorneys for eight years prior to joining TLG. Associate Kevin Serafino is an attorney with experience advising a wide range of nonprofit organizations on most aspects of their needs, leveraging his decade of experience working in-house at two national trade associations to provide practical and actionable legal advice to mission-driven organizations. Prior to joining TLG, Kevin served as an associate in the nonprofit organizations practice of a leading mid-Atlantic law firm.

Jeff, Nisha, Susan, Holly and Kevin are all very active in the nonprofit legal community, regularly publishing articles, giving speaking presentations, and serving on industry committees and councils.

TLG’s attorneys as supported by Senior Paralegal Courtney Tucker, Legal Administrative Assistant and Office Manager Ashley Norton, and Legal/Administrative Assistant Lily Martin.

We don’t just respond to legal questions, issues, and challenges.

At TLG, we don’t just respond to legal questions, issues and challenges. Our lawyers think strategically with our clients to understand what their underlying goals and concerns are, develop creative solutions and options, talk through the pros and cons of various approaches, and help them make the best decisions for their organizations. Because of our combined decades of nonprofit law practice, we rarely have to reinvent the wheel, which not only provides for much more cost efficiency, but also enables us to take our advice and counsel to the next, deeper level.

We don’t tell our clients, “No, you can’t do that,” because that is almost never the case.

We don’t tell our clients, “No, you can’t do that,” because that is almost never the case. With a nuanced understanding of the many complex laws and regulations that govern nonprofit organizations – in wide and diverse areas of law that often overlap and sometimes even work at cross-purposes – we are virtually always able to come up with workable, innovative alternatives and structures while helping our clients navigate the potential pitfalls. Our extensive experience in the nonprofit arena also enables us to never give legal advice in a vacuum, but rather to take into account the broader, real-world political, financial, business, and governance context, providing more wholistic legal counsel to our clients.

Our lawyers are leaders in the nonprofit community.

Our lawyers are volunteer leaders in the nonprofit community – – with industry groups such as the American Society of Association Executives, American Bar Association, Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives, Greater Washington Society of CPAs, FAR (Finance & Administration Roundtable), National Association of College and University Attorneys, Nonprofit Advisory Board, and numerous state societies of association executives – helping to further our deep connection to and with the sector. We have and continue to chair and serve on key nonprofit legal industry panels, and we are frequent speakers and authors on nonprofit legal topics, delivering over 50 presentations per year and publishing numerous articles each year on new developments and critical issues.

Our attorneys serve as a continual resource to others seeking nonprofit legal expertise – not only our clients, but to members of the print, television, radio, and online media, federal and state charity regulators, industry trade groups, academics, and nonprofit industry professionals in related fields, such as accounting, insurance, and consulting.

We take great pride in the long-term relationships we have built with our clients.

We take the greatest pride in the long-term relationships we have built with our clients – some over 15-20 years in duration – as well as the continuous stream of referrals we receive from our clients, nonprofit executives, professionals who practice in the sector, and many others. That is the ultimate testament to the work we do.

Honors and Recognition

" The Legal 500 – The Clients Guide to Law Firms The Legal 500 – The Clients Guide to Law Firms

While awards and honors don’t make great lawyers, over 20 years of annual recognition from all of the leading bestowers of such awards and honors is acknowledgment in which our attorneys take humble gratification. TLG is very proud to have been awarded – in its first four years of existence (2020-24) – the (top) Tier 1 designation in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Nonprofit/Charities Law by Best Law Firms (there are no national rankings for Nonprofit/Charities Law).

In addition, TLG was ranked by the prestigious U.S. Legal 500 for 2022-24 in the national Not-for-Profit category. For 2024, as TLG was one of only 19 law firms ranked nationwide and the only boutique firm, this is a highly coveted, distinguished honor.

TLG’s Managing Partner Jeff Tenenbaum was the 2006 recipient of the American Bar Association’s Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer of the Year Award, was an inaugural (2004) recipient of the Washington Business Journal’s Top Washington Lawyers Award, has been one of only a handful of Leading Lawyers in the U.S. Legal 500 Not-for-Profit rankings over the years, is one of only five attorneys in the U.S. Legal 500’s Not-for-Profit Hall of Fame, is listed in the 2012-24 editions of Best Lawyers for Nonprofit/Charities Law nationally, and is listed in the 2014-24 editions of Super Lawyers in its Nonprofit Organizations category.