Advisor Spotlight: Erin D. Nicholls
Nicholls loves that her work gives her an opportunity to learn about projects people are working on that can make a global impact.
When Erin Nicholls was in college, she went on a mission trip to Haiti, working in a one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of Port-au-Prince.
Her mother, the director of youth ministry at St. George Church in Guilford, had started the mission trips and Nicholls joined her in 2009, just months before a major earthquake would devastate the country. After the earthquake, Nicholls returned to help and stayed through the summer.
She’s since returned to Haiti nearly a dozen times and continues to raise funds for scholarships as “education is largely privatized in Haiti and impoverished families can’t afford to send their children to school.”
Her time in Haiti made Nicholls want to do work that would impact people’s lives and she chose to study law.
Nicholls, a partner in Wiggin and Dana LLP’s Private Client Services Department, does estate planning with her clients, many of whom are high net worth individuals who are thinking about the ways they can make positive change. Some have created their own foundations; others have established donor advised funds at The Community Foundation.
Nicholls also provides legal advice to The Community Foundation, and she works closely with nonprofits as they navigate formation and compliance issues.
And now, she’s part of Wiggin and Dana’s new division – wiggin(x) – “designed to meet the needs of emerging and high growth companies, their investors and their founders.”
“Some of our clients include incubator-style public charities, and that’s a new frontier in nonprofit law,” she said. The focus is on education and scientific research “related to a cause that can benefit an underserved population” such as an area of medical research that would make drug costs less expensive and more accessible to people with low incomes.
Nicholls said she loves that her work gives her an opportunity to learn about projects people are working on that can make a global impact. “New Haven is such a great community of smart, educated, and hardworking people. I like being part of these important grassroots movements that feel tied to our own community.”
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