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HNW Guide
Firm Profile

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered

Firm Profile

Washington, DC

  • Profile
  • One Thomas Circle NW
  • Suite 1100
  • Washington, DC
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20005

Firm profile submitted by Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered

Chairman: Beth Shapiro Kaufman
Number of partners: 34
Number of lawyers: 68
Languages: Brazilian Portuguese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish

A primary goal of Caplin & Drysdale’s private client group is to assist clients with their estate plans, always with an eye toward wealth preservation through tax efficiency. The firm counsels individuals and families on domestic and cross-border tax and estate planning issues, including the use of trusts, partnerships, corporations, foundations and wills, and the application of tax treaties. The group also represents domestic and international clients in disputes with the IRS regarding their income, estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax liabilities. Additionally, the lawyers assist individuals with their tax compliance issues, including pre- and post-immigration issues for international clients. Caplin & Drysdale is one of the few law firms with a focus on expatriation planning.

Members Beth Shapiro Kaufman, Michael G. Pfeifer, and Anne J. O’Brien draw on their nearly 100 years of combined experience to advise clients on tax planning and tax controversies. Ms Kaufman previously served as the associate tax legislative counsel at the Treasury Department, responsible for all estate, gift, and generation-skipping matters. Mr Pfeifer was a special assistant to the associate chief counsel (international) where he was a principal architect of the 1996 foreign trust tax rules and the Clinton Administration’s expatriation tax proposal. Ms O’Brien has more than 25 years of experience in private practice.

They are further supported by members: Kirsten Burmester who brings significant experience in PFIC and CFC rules, as well as the throwback rules applicable to foreign trusts; Dianne C. Mehany who adds substantial knowledge in expatriation and compliance matters; and Jonathan S. Brenner and James E. Salles, and senior counsel Stafford C. Smiley, all of whom bring considerable experience with the taxation of individuals and closely held businesses. Recently named of counsel Victor A. Jaramillo and Megan E. Wernke and talented associates Alison F. Egan, William D. Fournier, Arielle M. Borsos, Sae Jin Yoon, Natalie Punchak, and Amanda M. Leon provide additional legal resources and depth to the group. The firm’s attorneys draw upon their vast experience both in private practice and in government service to bring a uniquely informed perspective to Caplin & Drysdale’s representations.

Bankruptcy Business, Investment & Transactional Tax Complex LitigationCorporate Law Employee Benefits Exempt Organisations International Tax Political Law Private Client Tax Controversies Tax CrimesTax Litigation White Collar Defence
The following illustrates the tailored legal counsel Caplin & Drysdale offers clients:
■ The firm keeps clients up to date on legislative developments and IRS guidance, and guides them through interactions with the IRS
■ Caplin & Drysdale’s private client group engages in sophisticated, tax-sensitive estate planning for clients with domestic or cross-border issues, including expatriation, changes of residence, investments in the US and elsewhere, treatment of foreign corporations and foreign trusts, and tax compliance/controversies
■ The firm’s attorneys help clients seeking private letter rulings, competent authority relief and other advice from the IRS. The group takes on difficult technical issues relating to estate and gift taxes, generation-skipping transfer tax, income taxation of individuals, and trusts and estates
■ Caplin & Drysdale has a reputation for consulting with the IRS on matters of tax policy and procedure
■ The firm’s attorneys also serve as expert witnesses in various high-profile international trust and expatriation cases
■ The group draws upon the considerable know-how of the firm’s exempt organisations group, including Douglas N. Varley, Sharon P. Want, and Meghan R. Biss (former technical advisor to the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS from 2015 to 2018) to help clients with philanthropic planning, setting up private foundations, and advising clients on contribution limits
■ In estate and gift tax controversy cases, as well as income tax audits of wealthy individuals, the group teams up with Charles M. Ruchelman, Christopher S. Rizek, Scott D. Michel, Mark E. Matthews, Niles A. Elber, and Matthew C. Hicks – members of the firm’s tax controversy group – to bring both substantive and procedural experience to the case
Contact: Beth Shapiro Kaufman
Tel: +202 862 5062
Email: [email protected]


  • One Thomas Circle NW,
  • Suite 1100,
  • Washington, DC,
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20005
  • Tel +1 202 862 5000
  • Fax +1 202 429 3301
  • Website :
  • 21st Floor, 600 Lexington Avenue,
  • New York,
  • USA
  • NY 10021
  • Tel +1 212 379 6000
  • Fax +1 212 379 6001