Emily M. Lam is the head of Skadden’s Palo Alto office. She advises clients on a broad range of tax controversy matters, focusing on complex audits and appeals. Drawing on her prior experience at the U.S. Department of Treasury and her almost two decades of practice, she provides clients with sophisticated tax counseling on the most sensitive matters. 


Ms. Lam, who began her career in Skadden’s Washington, D.C. office, rejoined the firm in 2010 after serving as an attorney adviser in the Office of Tax Policy at the U.S. Department of Treasury. While at the Treasury Department, Ms. Lam worked closely with the Internal Revenue Service on administrative guidance, consulted with Congressional staff regarding legislation and interfaced with other government agencies on various tax policy matters.

Ms. Lam also advises tax-exempt organizations and counsels on charitable giving issues.

On the strength of her professional achievements, Ms. Lam has been recognized numerous times as a leading tax lawyer in California and nationwide, including being selected annually for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. The Daily Journal has named her several times to its list of Top Women Lawyers in California, including in 2020, and previously recognized her as one of the state’s top 20 Lawyers Under 40.

Additionally, Ms. Lam was named in 2019 to Lawyers of Color’s list of attorneys nationwide who have achieved prominence in their fields and demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing diversity in the legal profession. She also is listed annually among the world’s leading tax advisers in International Tax Review’s Women in Tax Leaders Guide and in Euromoney’s Women in Business Law Expert Guide. She received a 2017 Women in Business Law award from Euromoney and Legal Media Group, recognizing her as one of the country’s outstanding tax dispute resolution attorneys. The Silicon Valley Business Journal also has recognized her as one of its Women of Influence.

Ms. Lam is a frequent speaker and panelist before private bar and industry groups, including the Tax Executives Institute and the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation.

Ms. Lam is active in recruitment, development and retention within Skadden and serves on the firmwide Diversity and Pro Bono committees.



  • LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, 2004 (Thomas Bradbury Chetwood, S.J. Prize)
  • J.D., Yale Law School, 2000
  • B.A., Yale University, 1997 (summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa)


  • California
  • District of Columbia


  • Fellow, American College of Tax Counsel

Government Service

  • Attorney Adviser, Office of Tax Legislative Counsel, Office of Tax Policy, Department of Treasury (2007-2010)