Karl E. Emerson


Karl E. Emerson provides legal counsel and advice to nonprofit organizations, including advising charitable organizations and their fundraisers on compliance with state charitable solicitation statutes, conducting charitable organization compliance assessments, and conducting internal investigations for charitable and other tax-exempt organizations.

Karl represents more than 100 charitable organizations and educational institutions that he registers each year to solicit contributions nationally in all states where required. He also represents charitable organizations when they are investigated by various state and federal agencies.

Prior to joining Montgomery McCracken, Karl served as director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Charitable Organizations where he was responsible for administering and enforcing Pennsylvania's charitable solicitation law. Under his direction, the number of registered organizations increased from approximately 3,700 to more than 9,800. He streamlined and eliminated cumbersome registration procedures and policies, implemented the first electronic registration system in the country and set up a Special Investigation and Audit Unit that pursues fraud and other abuses in the nonprofit sector. He worked closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies as well as foreign law enforcement agencies on several terrorist financing cases.

Previously, Karl held a variety of executive level positions in the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General where he supervised and directed complex fraud, waste and abuse investigations. These investigations resulted in major monetary recoveries and savings for the Commonwealth, hundreds of employee disciplinary actions, several grand jury investigations, and numerous criminal prosecutions and civil and administrative actions. He worked closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies during his 10 years at the Office of Inspector General.

From 1983 to 1985, Karl was a prosecuting attorney with the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs where he initiated and managed investigations of professional misconduct and represented the Commonwealth at formal disciplinary hearings.

Karl received a J. D. degree from Temple University Law School in 1981. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1978 where he earned dual degrees, each magna cum laude, in Economics and Business Administration.

RELATED Practices


Montgomery McCracken’s Nonprofit Industry Group has experience in representing nonprofits, foundations, public charities and educational organizations. Our active client base includes hundreds of organizations ranging in size from internationally known universities […]

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Higher Education

Montgomery McCracken’s Higher Education Industry Group has earned a reputation for broad experience in representing institutions of higher learning. Our group includes attorneys from many different practice areas who have […]

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Selected Speaking Engagements
Selected Publications
Honors & Awards
  • Selected to the Best Lawyers in America© – Non-Profit/Charities Law list in 2018, 2022- 2024. The Best Lawyers in America© list is issued by Best Lawyers and a description of the selection methodology can be found here.  No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
  • Selected to the Best Lawyers in America© : “Lawyer of the Year” – Non-Profit/Charities Law list in 2022. The Best Lawyers in America© list is issued by Best Lawyers and a description of the selection methodology can be found here.  No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
  • Recipient, The Nonprofit Times as one of the 50 most influential members of the nonprofit community in 2001, 2003 and 2006
  • Recipient, Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Greater Philadelphia Chapter’s “Government Philanthropic Partner Award”

No aspect of these advertisements has been approved by the highest court of any state.

Community Involvement
  • Former President, Vice President and Board Member, National Association of State Charity Officials
  • Former Nonprofit Sector Representative, Internal Revenue Service’s Tax-Exempt Advisory Committee
  • Former Co-Chair, Pennsylvania Bar Association Charitable Organization Committee

Law School

  • Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law

Undergraduate School

  • University of New Hampshire