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  • LL.M., New York University School of Law, 1981
  • J.D., Cornell Law School, 1975, Note & Comment Editor, Cornell International Law Review
  • A.B., Yale University, 1970

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Illinois
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Other Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association (Taxation and Real Property, Probate and Trusts Sections)

New York Bar Association (Taxation and Trust and Estates Sections)

District of Columbia Bar Association (Taxation and Estates, Trusts and Probate Sections)

Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Member, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

Academician, The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law

Government Experience

Special Assistant to the Associate Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service, 1993-1995

U.S. Delegate to the Hague Conference, Convention on the Law Applicable to Agency, U.S. Department of State, 1977

Michael G. Pfeifer

Member, Washington, D.C.
(202) 862-5085 | v-card | PDF
Michael G. Pfeifer is a Member in Caplin & Drysdale's Washington, D.C., office.


Mr. Pfeifer's practice focuses on the international tax issues of wealthy individuals, including entertainers and athletes. He counsels clients on planning for pre-immigration and expatriation, as well as on structuring cross-border investments. Moreover, Mr. Pfeifer advises high-net-worth individuals on estate planning matters including the use of domestic and foreign trusts, and tax controversy matters such as voluntary disclosure proceedings.


  • International tax partner in the National Tax Department of Ernst & Young LLP, where he directed that firm's international private client practice
  • Special Assistant to the Associate Chief Counsel (International) at the Internal Revenue Service from 1993-1995, where he directed the legislative project that culminated in the 1996 foreign trust tax changes
  • Involved with the Clinton Administration's expatriation tax proposal while at the IRS, including the revisions to the section 1441 withholding tax rules, and the development of the "check-the-box" rules for entity classification
  • Tax Partner with the London office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP prior to the IRS, where he concentrated on the international tax issues faced by high net wealth individuals, including authors and entertainers

Professional Activities

  • Frequent lecturer on international tax topics before numerous U.S. and foreign professional associations, including ALI-ABA (for which he co-chairs an annual program on international trust and estate planning), ABA Tax Section, International Fiscal Association, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, New York State Bar Association, Practicing Law Institute, and the Institute for International Research
  • Vice-Chair, Mid-Atlantic Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
  • Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center

Awards & Rankings

  • Listed in the 2010-2014 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the category of Trusts and Estates
  • Listed as a "Leading Lawyer in Tax" in the 2011 and 2013-2014 editions of Chambers USA: Wealth Management (Nationwide)
  • Listed in the 2010-2014 editions of Super Lawyers
  • Recommended in the 2014 edition of The Legal 500
  • Listed in the elite "Leading Lawyer" list in International Tax in the 2011 edition of The Legal 500
  • Selected in Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Trusts and Estates Practitioners in 2009
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Recent Publications

Mr. Pfeifer writes frequently on international tax matters. He is also mentioned in major media outlets.