UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Law esteemed volunteer and donor Christie Tillapaugh was recently elected as President and CEO of Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, located in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Naples, Florida. Dentons Cohen & Grigsby is a member firm of Dentons, the world’s largest global law firm. Over the next six months, Tillapaugh will serve as president-elect until assuming her new role.
Tillapaugh has been with the firm since 2008 and is Chair of its Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Organizations Group. She has 20+ years of experience serving as outside general counsel and providing corporate governance and strategic transaction-related counseling for numerous organizations, including both tax-exempt and for-profit companies. She is recognized as a leading corporate lawyer in the Pittsburgh region’s nonprofit space, having worked on many transformative projects and transactions in the sector, representing an array of community-based and arts-based nonprofit organizations and private foundations. Tillapaugh previously served as in-house counsel for a publicly traded company.
“I am deeply honored and incredibly excited to accept the responsibility to lead Dentons Cohen & Grigsby into our next important chapter,” Tillapaugh said.
A mentor to many law students over the years, Tillapaugh has strong ties to Penn State and the law community. She earned her bachelor’s degree in international politics from Penn State in 1999 and her juris doctor from the Penn State Dickinson School of Law in 2002.
“I congratulate Christie on her promotion. As her teacher from many years ago, I am so impressed with what she’s accomplished. Christie has been a great mentor and inspiration to our Penn State Law students, and we wish her much success in her new role,” said Victor Romero, interim dean of Penn State Law in University Park and the School of International Affairs, Maureen B. Cavanaugh Distinguished Faculty Scholar, and professor of law.
In 2021, Tillapaugh made a gift to Penn State Law in University Park to benefit students who participated in the Public Interest Law Fund’s Summer Fellowship program. This program promotes the practice of law in the public interest arena. Her generous gift created an endowment known as the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Public Interest Law Award at Penn State Law.
Tillapaugh drew her professional inspiration from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was “an advocate for equality and, essentially, a brilliant jurist,” said Tillapaugh. Ginsburg’s legacy is tied in large part to her advocacy for equal rights, informed, in part, by her public interest work. “It seemed fitting to honor her life by finding ways that the law students of today can be better lawyers and advocates in the future by benefiting from positions in public interest law,” Tillapaugh said. “By establishing this endowment in her name, I hope to create a unique opportunity for the students to gain valuable skills while honoring her legacy.”
To learn more about Tillapaugh’s background and experience, click here to view the firm’s media release about her appointment.