Chair, Tax-Exempt Organizations Practice
LaVerne Woods has devoted her career to helping nonprofits and philanthropists navigate the legal maze so they can focus on their missions. Nationally-known for her expertise in tax-exempt organizations and philanthropy, LaVerne excels at translating the most complex tax and regulatory concepts into clear and concise language to facilitate planning and decision-making. She brings over three decades of experience in the nonprofit sector to bear in achieving her client's goals, along with a rare understanding of both big picture policy issues and technical minutiae.
LaVerne has represented some of the largest foundations and operating nonprofits regionally and nationally, as well as both Fortune 500 companies and start-ups engaged in philanthropy and cause marketing. Her deep expertise extends to a full range of legal issues unique to the nonprofit sector, including federal tax exemption, nonprofit governance, endowment management, mission-related and program-related investing, charitable trust law and the intricacies of donor-advised funds and supporting organizations. She has a particular interest in nonprofit healthcare, social entrepreneurism, and international philanthropy.
LaVerne has handled complex restructurings of tax-exempt systems, investigations by the IRS and State authorities, nonprofit mergers and acquisitions, and everything in between. She has structured powerful giving programs that leverage technology and served as consigliere to family foundations. She is always looking for a new and exciting challenge.
Admitted to Practice
J.D., Harvard Law School, cum laude
Fulbright Scholar, Dakar, Senegal
B.A., Yale University, summa cum laude
Memberships & Affiliations
- Past Chair, Exempt Organizations Committee, Section of Taxation, American Bar Association
- Co-chair, Private Foundations Subcommittee, Exempt Organizations Committee, Section of Taxation, American Bar Association
- Past Chair, Board of Advisors, National Center on Philanthropy and the Law, New York University Law School
- Advisor, American Law Institute, Restatement of the Law of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations
- Co-convener, Legal Work Group advising the Independent Sector’s Panel on the Nonprofit Sector
- Past Chair, Nonprofit Corporations Committee, Business Section, Washington State Bar Association
- Named as one of "America’s Leading Lawyers for Business" in Corporate/Commercial: Tax (Washington) by Chambers USA, 2006-2018; Received "Band 1" ranking, 2012-2018
- Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Tax Law by Best Lawyers, 2001-present; and in Nonprofit Charitable Law 2007-present
- Selected by Best Lawyers as Seattle's "Lawyer of the Year" in Tax, 2012; Nonprofit/Charities Law, 2014, 2020
- Selected to "Washington Super Lawyers" in Nonprofit Law, Thomson Reuters, 2007-2022
- Selected to "Top 40 Female Washington Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 2008