Skip to Main Content

Caplin & Drysdale Mourns the Passing of Douglas Drysdale, Co-Founder of the Firm

November 29, 2018, Caplin & Drysdale

It is great sorrow that we convey news of the passing of Douglas Drysdale, co-founder of Caplin & Drysdale. Mr. Drysdale passed away on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, at the age of 94. He died peacefully in his Charlottesville, Virginia, home his family by his side.

Born on August 9, 1924, Mr. Drysdale was the son of Duncan and Margaret (Pollock) Drysdale, both natives of Scotland. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Jean D. Warren. Mr. Drysdale grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia, and attended Lynchburg College (now the University of Lynchburg) before transferring to the University of Virginia (UVA) where he earned his B.A. in economics in 1944. Mr. Drysdale joined the U.S. Army in June 1944 and reached the rank of 2nd lieutenant in the medical administrative corps before completing his service in December 1946. On returning home, he completed graduate work in economics before enrolling in the University of Virginia School of Law, earning his LL.B. in 1953 (Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif). As a lawyer and accountant, Mr. Drysdale began his professional career with Robert Musselman & Associates before moving to the law firm of Perkins, Battle & Minor (now McGuireWoods).

Mr. Drysdale met Mortimer Caplin when he was a student in Mr. Caplin’s tax class at the University of Virginia School of Law. The two founded Caplin & Drysdale together in 1964. Other than a brief stint with an oil and gas company in Houston, Mr. Drysdale remained at Caplin & Drysdale for his entire career. As a practicing attorney, Mr. Drysdale represented clients for nearly 50 years, primarily in tax matters. His practice emphasized counseling high-net-worth individuals, especially those with wealth centered in closely held business interests, advising corporations on tax and business matters, and advising tax-exempt organizations and related individuals on difficult tax issues.  Mr. Drysdale served as a mentor and role model to generations of Caplin & Drysdale attorneys. He retired from private practice in 2013.

Mr. Drysdale taught in both the commerce and law schools at UVA over many years, offering courses such as accounting, banking law, and tax practice. He was a life-long supporter of his alma maters, the University of Virginia and the University of Lynchburg. Mr. Drysdale served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Lynchburg from 2008 to 2015. The "Drysdale Student Center" at Lynchburg serves as a tribute to Mr. and Mrs. Drysdale’s core values of leadership and service.

Mr. Drysdale is survived by his wife, Elaine Hadden; his daughters, Margaret Beeke and Mary Douglas Drysdale; and his granddaughter, Anna Beeke. He is also survived by and was loved dearly by his spouses' children and grandchildren from prior marriages and several nieces and nephews. Memorial gifts to honor Mr. Drysdale may be made to the UVA Law School Foundation. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 15, 2018, at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville.


About Caplin & Drysdale
Having celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 2014, Caplin & Drysdale continues to be a leading provider of legal services to corporations, individuals, and nonprofits throughout the United States and around the world. We are 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 us the trust and respect of clients, industry peers, and government agencies. Moreover, clients rely on our broad knowledge of the law and our keen insights into their business concerns and personal interests. Our lawyers' strong tactical and problem-solving skills -- combined with substantial experience handling a variety of complex, high stakes, matters in a boutique environment -- make us one the nation's most distinctive law firms.

With offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., Caplin & Drysdale's core practice areas include:
For more information, please visit us at
Washington, DC Office:
One Thomas Circle NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
New York, NY Office:
600 Lexington Avenue
21st Floor
New York, NY 10022


This communication does not provide legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with you or any other reader. If you require legal guidance in any specific situation, you should engage a qualified lawyer for that purpose. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Attorney Advertising
It is possible that under the laws, rules, or regulations of certain jurisdictions, this may be construed as an advertisement or solicitation.
©2020 Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered
All Rights Reserved.