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HNW Guide
Firm Profile

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered

Firm Profile

Washington, DC

  • 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: 35
Number of lawyers: 64
Languages: English, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian

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. The firm helps individuals with their tax compliance issues, including pre- and post-immigration issues for international clients. Caplin & Drysdale is one of the few firms with a focus on expatriation.

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. Kirsten Burmester brings significant experience in PFIC and CFC rules, as well as the throwback rules applicable to foreign trusts. Dianne C. Mehany adds substantial knowledge in expatriation and compliance matters. They are further supported by members 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. Talented associates Megan E. Wernke, Alison F. Egan, William D. Fournier, Victor A. Jaramillo, Arielle M. Borsos, and Sae Jin Yoon 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.

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, generationskipping 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 Douglas N. Varley and Sharon P. Want – of the firm’s exempt organisations group – 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]

Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights:

For over 30 years, Caplin & Drysdale’s bankruptcy litigation practice has protected the rights of creditors in courts throughout the United States. The firm is regularly retained in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases to analyze and resolve high-profile, complex and cutting-edge disputes. From the unique to the routine, the practice encompasses the full range of issues potentially affecting creditors in bankruptcy proceedings.
Trevor W Swett
Tel: +202 862 5081
Email: [email protected]

Complex Litigation:
Caplin & Drysdale litigators are regularly asked to handle complex business, financial and commercial disputes that have put a business in peril. The firm also represents plaintiffs around the world seeking to have their rights vindicated through the court system.
Contact: Trevor W Swett
+202 862 5081
Email: [email protected]

Business, Investment & Transactional Tax:

Caplin & Drysdale has broad experience advising and representing public companies, other business entities and their principals in tax planning and controversy matters. The firm’s areas of substantive tax experience relevant to these entities include corporate tax, partnership tax, subchapter S, the taxation of regulated investment companies and real estate investment trusts, the taxation of insurance companies and products, tax accounting, financial products, payroll and other withholding taxes.
Contact: Mark D Allison
Tel: +212 379 6060
[email protected]

Corporate Law:
Caplin & Drysdale counsels a range of clients in corporate law matters, including M&A, joint ventures and choice of business entities and alternative organizational structures. The firm also has extensive experience with corporate governance and transactions for non-profit organizations.
Contact: William M Klimon
Tel: +202 862 5022
Email: [email protected]

Employee Benefits:

The firm provides legal advice to employers and plan service providers in the following areas: design and administration of qualified plans, legislative and regulatory changes, representation before the Internal Revenue Service, compliance with Title I of ERISA, executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, tax-exempt and governmental employer representation, financial institution and service provider counseling and employee benefits dispute resolution.
Contact: Joanne C Youn
Tel: +202 862 7855
Email: [email protected]

Exempt Organizations:

Serving some of the nation’s most prominent private foundations, public charities and other non-profit organizations, the firm has handled a wide range of operational and governance issues for exempt organizations. The group counsels clients on political and lobbying issues, assists clients in raising revenue through a variety of business structures, advises regarding unrelated business tax issues and monitors relevant legislative and regulatory activities. The firm also represents clients in high profile, complex IRS examinations.
Contact: Douglas N Varley
Tel: +202 862 7818
Email: [email protected]

International Tax:
Caplin & Drysdale advises clients on matters relating to the taxation of international transactions, operations and investments and transfer pricing, including tax-efficient structuring of cross-border investments and transactions, as well as optimum use of tax treaties, foreign tax credits, tax deferral and entity classification.
Contact: Patricia G Lewis
Tel: +202 862 5017
Email: [email protected]

Political Law:
The firm regularly counsels clients on the laws pertaining to government ethics, lobbying and campaign finance. The group represents clients on both sides of the political aisle, including corporations, trade associations, political action committees, political parties, private individuals, presidential campaigns and high profile federal, state and local candidates.
Contact: Trevor Potter
Tel: +202 862 5092
Email: [email protected]

Tax Controversies, Tax Litigation, Tax Crimes:
Caplin & Drysdale has been engaged in this practice area for over 50 years, with significant experience in all phases of tax controversy, fraud and tax litigation. The firm also has a robust practice in the area of voluntary disclosures, particularly involving undeclared offshore accounts, which has been an increasing focus of IRS enforcement efforts.
Contact: Scott D Michel
Tel: +202 862 5030
Email: [email protected]

White-Collar Defense:
With significant experience and Washington ‘know-how,’ Caplin & Drysdale’s federal white-collar prosecution has represented clients in numerous types of white-collar criminal inquiries, including allegations of government procurement and program fraud, antitrust and securities offenses, mail fraud, wire fraud, customs violations, money laundering and campaign finance and public corruption investigations. Companies have also engaged the firm to conduct internal investigations of potential wrongdoing.
Contact: Mark E Matthews
Tel: +202 862 5082
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