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Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered

2022 Vault Rankings

About Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered

With offices in Washington, DC and New York City, Caplin & Drysdale prides itself on staying lean in an era when some law firms are ballooning to seemingly gargantuan proportions.

Top in Tax

Caplin & Drysdale was founded by Mortimer Caplin, former commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He also once graced the cover of Time magazine in an issue dedicated to taxation. The firm's co-founder, Douglas Drysdale, had been a student of Caplin's at the University of Virginia School of Law, and he himself went on to teach tax law at the school for more than 20 years. Starting with only six lawyers, Caplin & Drysdale now boasts a team of more than 60 lawyers.

Caplin & Drysdale is recognized as one of the nation's top tax practices. National and international rankings list Caplin & Drysdale’s tax practice alongside those of firms 10 and 20 times its size. The firm's lawyers are often quoted in leading industry publications such as Tax Notes Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Bloomberg BNA. Although the firm only has two offices, it has a global footprint with corporate and individual clients from around the world. Caplin & Drysdale attorneys consider themselves “lawyers’ lawyers”—having served as legal advisors to a number of law firms. 

The tax practice encompasses tax planning, tax litigation, tax controversies, international tax, transfer pricing, tax-exempt organizations, employee benefits, trust and estate planning, expatriation planning, and criminal tax defense work. 

Not a One-Stop Shop

In addition to its tax-oriented practices, the firm includes a litigation practice centered on insolvencies, corporate reorganizations in bankruptcy, creditors’ rights representation, and other complex financial and commercial disputes, including matters that cross national boundaries. Caplin & Drysdale also boasts a national political law practice that provides businesses, nonprofits, politicians, candidates, and lobbyists with timely, concise counsel on the high-stakes legal issues that involve "pay-to-play" restrictions, lobbying regulations, campaign finance laws, and ethics rules. Much like the firm’s tax attorneys, the litigators and political law attorneys are highly ranked in Chambers USA, Best Lawyers, and other top rankings.

COVID-19 Update

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our firm has made every effort to approach recruiting in a safe and efficient manner. We conduct all interviews virtually and plan to participate in on-campus interviews and call-back interviews through virtual platforms. In addition, since March 2020, our firm has transitioned into working remotely and we have effectively been able to onboard new hires and integrate them into the firm.

News & Awards


October 2020

Caplin & Drysdale advises one of the wealthiest individuals in the United States who recently concluded a public Non-Prosecution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, resolving one of the most complex criminal tax investigations in U.S. history. 

August 2020

Caplin & Drysdale was appointed by the SDNY and is serving as lead counsel representing all of the approximately 200 United States-based defendants in 10 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 (known as SKAT). These cases are part of a global, high-profile effort by SKAT to pursue the recovery of withholding taxes paid in connection with dividend arbitrage transactions on Danish securities.

July 2020

Caplin & Drysdale lawyers were recognized once again by The Legal 500. Market commentators praised the firm for its "well-deserved reputation as the leading U.S. tax boutique." For the sixth consecutive year, the firm also received a "Top-Tier Firm" ranking for its work in U.S. Taxes: Contentious. After consistently receiving praise from clients and peers, Scott Michel and David Rosenbloom are once again listed as “Leading Lawyers” for U.S. Taxes: Contentious and International Tax, respectively.

May 2020

In the 2020 edition of Chambers USA, nine Caplin & Drysdale attorneys were recognized. Kevin Maclay is new to the ranking this year, listed in Band Four for Bankruptcy. According to a client, "It is a fantastic team. The lawyers have many decades of experience, which includes government experience. As they have been on both sides, it is almost like they are bilingual, which is a great attribute to have."

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered

One Thomas Circle, NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 862-5000

Firm Stats

President: Douglas N. Varley
Hiring Partner: Kirsten Burmester
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
50 - 100

Base Salary

1st year: $170,000
Summer Associate: $3,250/week

Employment Contact

Nawel Moreno
Attorney & Paralegal Recruitment Manager
(202) 862-5010
General Recruiting Email:

No. of U.S. Offices: 2

No. of International Offices: 0

Major Office Locations

New York, NY
Washington, DC (HQ)

Major Departments

Complex Litigation
Corporate Law
Business, Investment & Transactional Tax
Employee Benefits
Exempt Organizations
International Tax
Political Law
Private Client
Tax Controversies
Tax Crimes
Tax Litigation
White Collar Defense