Firm Profile > Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered > New York, United States

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered
NEW YORK, NY 10021
United States

US taxes: contentious Tier 1

Praised for its 'unique characteristics', Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered provides clients with expertise in civil tax disputes, criminal tax matters, and issues related to undisclosed offshore accounts. 'Accessible and knowledgeable' Scott Michel in Washington DC and New York-based Mark Allison lead the team. Allison is lead counsel representing 110 of 140 US-based defendants in ten federal district courts and three state courts who have been sued by the Government of Denmark, based on an allegation of withholding tax fraud in filings with the Danish tax authority; the matter is valued at $2bn. Michel and DC-based Mark Matthews represented two Swiss financial institutions in relation to the DOJ's Swiss Bank Program. Other notable practitioners include Charles RuchelmanNiles Elber and Christopher Rizek in Washington DC. Associate Sae Jin Yoon is a rising star. Victor Jaramillo in DC was made partner in 2018.

International tax Tier 3

At Caplin & Drysdale, CharteredJ. Clark Armitage, now president of the firm, specializes in advance pricing agreements and competent authority matters for corporations. Patricia Lewis advises on this as well as tax controversy and audit issues. H. David Rosenbloom  offers similar expertise, as does Mark Allison in New York. Also in New York, Jonathan Brenner, a UK and Luxembourg tax expert, and Zhanna Ziering are notable. Michael Pfeifer and Anne J. O'Brien focus on expatriation planning. Kirsten Burmester also acts for private clients as well as some businesses, and Scott Michel focuses on criminal tax matters with international aspects. Attorneys mentioned are based in Washington DC unless otherwise indicated.

Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design Tier 4

Ongoing clients for the team at Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered include NASA Federal Credit Union, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Public Welfare Foundation and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The team has expertise in drafting 409A, 457(f) and 457A deferred compensation plans as well as the application of 403(b) ‘church plans’. Practice head Richard W. Skillman and of counsel Ronald G. Cluett are key names for this Washington DC-based practice. Joanne Youn left the firm for an in-house position at TrustBridge Global Foundation in Switzerland.

US taxes: non-contentious Tier 7

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered has ‘strong command of the relevant tax considerations for private equity investments and also has ‘clear awareness of a client's commercial goals and objectives’. The practice group regularly handles private equity and hedge fund formation, business and asset disposals, and restructuring. Lead partner Jonathan S. Brenner in New York is rated for his ‘responsiveness and knowledge of the tax aspects of outbound and inbound investments’; indeed, Brenner is ‘a practical lawyer, who understands how issues get resolved and how deals get done’.

Caplin & Drysdale was formed in 1964 by Mortimer M Caplin, who served as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and Douglas D Drysdale, who taught law for several years at the University of Virginia School of Law. For over half a century, the firm has been a leading provider of tax, tax controversy, and litigation legal services to corporations, individuals, and nonprofits throughout the United States and around the world. Caplin & Drysdale is also privileged to serve as legal advisors to accounting firms, financial institutions, law firms, and other professional services organizations.

The firm’s reputation over the years has earned it the trust and respect of clients, industry peers, and government agencies. Moreover, clients rely on the lawyers’ broad knowledge of the law and keen insights into their business concerns and personal interests. Caplin & Drysdale lawyers’ strong tactical and problem-solving skills — combined with substantial experience handling a variety of complex, high-stakes matters in a boutique environment — make Caplin & Drysdale one of the nation’s most distinctive law firms.

With offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, Caplin & Drysdale also offers counseling on matters relating to bankruptcy, corporate law, employee benefits, exempt organizations, political activity, private client services, and white-collar defense.

Main areas of practice: Bankruptcy: for over 30 years the firm has protected the rights of creditors in courts throughout the US. The firm is regularly retained in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases to analyze and resolve high-profile, complex and cutting-edge disputes. The practice encompasses the full range of issues affecting creditors in bankruptcy proceedings.

Business investment and transactional tax: the firm has broad experience advising and representing public companies, other business entities, and their principals in tax planning and controversy matters. Such business entities include domestic and foreign financial institutions, manufacturing companies, insurance companies, and hedge fund managers. The firm’s substantive tax experience includes corporate tax, partnership tax, subchapter S, taxation of regulated investment companies and real estate investment trusts, and taxation of insurance companies and products.

Complex litigation: the firm’s litigators are regularly asked to handle complex business, financial, and commercial disputes that have put a business in peril, and represent plaintiffs worldwide seeking to have their rights vindicated through the court system. The group efficiently handles matters of varying sizes, emphasizing close communication with clients, hands-on involvement by senior lawyers, lean staffing, and aims to deliver excellent value for clients.

Corporate law: the firm helps clients choose whether to operate as a partnership, limited liability company, or corporation. The group also incorporates or forms entities and advises on day-to-day business matters.

Employee benefits: the firm advises on design/administration of qualified plans; legislative/regulatory changes; representation before the IRS; Title I of ERISA; executive compensation; health and welfare benefits; tax-exempt and governmental employer representation; financial institution and service provider counseling; and dispute resolution.

Exempt organizations: the rules governing exempt organizations are technical and careful compliance is a necessity. Caplin & Drysdale advises both established exempt organizations and entities seeking tax-exempt status.

International tax: Caplin & Drysdale’s international tax attorneys counsel multinational businesses and US taxpayers with global interests on matters involving IRS rules, transfer pricing and multilateral dispute resolution, etc.

Political activity: the bipartisan political law group provides timely and concise counsel on the high-stakes legal issues that involve ‘pay-to-play’ restrictions, lobbying regulations, campaign finance laws, and ethics rules.

Private client: the firm counsels wealthy individuals on domestic and cross-border tax and estate planning issues, represents clients in IRS disputes and helps individuals with tax compliance issues. The firm is one of few with a focus on expatriation, and attorneys draw upon their vast experience to bring a uniquely informed perspective.

Tax controversies: clients, ranging from multinational corporations to high-net-worth individuals, call upon the firm to advise on a variety of complex tax disputes, including: audits; voluntary disclosures; and criminal enquiries.

Department Name Email Telephone
Complex litigation/bankruptcy Kevin C. Maclay
Corporate law William M Klimon
Business investment and transactional tax Mark D Allison
Business investment and transactional tax Jonathan S Brenner
Employee benefits Richard W Skillman
Exempt organizations Douglas N Varley
Exempt organizations William M Klimon
International tax Patricia Gimbel Lewis
International tax J Clark Armitage
Political law Trevor Potter
Political law Matthew T Sanderson
Private client Beth Shapiro Kaufman
Private client Anne O'Brien
Tax controversies Scott D Michel
Tax controversies Mark E Matthews
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Mark D. Allison  photo Mr Mark D. Allison
Mr Jonathan S. Brenner  photo Mr Jonathan S. Brenner
Ms Rachel L. Partain  photo Ms Rachel L. Partain
Ms Zhanna A. Ziering  photo Ms Zhanna A. Ziering
Number of Partners : 35
Number of Other Fee-earners : 34
Total Staff : 123
President and member of the firm : J Clark Armitage (202 862 5078,
General counsel and member of the firm : Christopher S Rizek (202 862 8852,
Head of recruiting and member of the firm : Scott D Michel (202 862 5030,