Gwendolyn Griffith

Tonkon Torp LLP
1600 Pioneer Tower
888 SW Fifth Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204

PHONE: 503.802.2102
EMAIL: gwen.griffith@tonkon.com
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Representative Matters
News & Publications
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Get to Know
Gwen

Gwen's tax practice includes advice to individuals, businesses, nonprofit entities and local governments on federal and state tax issues. She is experienced in corporate, partnership and individual taxation matters, as well as the income tax and transfer tax issues of trusts and estates. Part of Gwen's practice focuses on the "sharing economy," including advice to cooperatives and cost-sharing entities, the creation of collaborative agreements among public and private entities, and innovative grant- and gift-making techniques. Gwen also addresses international tax issues, including foreign investment in businesses and assets, as well as FACTA and FBAR compliance. Gwen has been named as a Best Lawyer in Trusts and Estates since 2010 and as a Best Lawyer in Tax Law since 2012.  

In addition, Gwen is the Executive Director of an Oregon state agency that is housed at Tonkon Torp: the Oregon Facilities Authority. In this work, Gwen works closely with the Office of the State Treasurer to help Oregon nonprofits access low-cost financing for the acquisition of facilities and equipment through the issuance of revenue bonds. The Oregon Facilities Authority has issued over $3 billion in bonds in its 23 year history.

Gwen's clients appreciate her ability to listen and to hear not only to what is said, but what is not said, a critical element in helping them achieve their long-term objectives as well as short-term goals. Clients say she deploys a unique combination of intelligence and common sense to help them solve their legal problems, without forgetting the all-important human side of any problem.

Gwen began her law career at the Dallas, Texas law firm of Akin Gump, and then spent a number of years teaching law school. She taught tax law at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon for many years before joining the Eugene, Oregon boutique firm of Speer Hoyt PC. She came to Tonkon in 2008.  

  
Representative Matters

  • Drafting complex tax allocation and cash distribution provisions for LLC Operating Agreement on behalf of acquisition entity.
  • Reorganization of family business, including private letter ruling from IRS regarding spin-off of portion of the business. 
  • Structuring of cost-sharing arrangement for open source software project.
  • Advice to cooperatives on issues relating to patronage dividends, exempt status, transition to private status, and capitalization through stock issuance.
  • Advice to local government on tax implications of state-funded project on private lands.
  • Advice to §501(c)(3) entity on private foundation status and restructuring to achieve public charity status


Professional Organizations
Gwen is admitted to practice law in Oregon and California. She is on the Advisory Board for The Tax Advisor, which is the monthly publication of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Tax Forum, and a former member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Section of the Oregon State Bar. She enjoys speaking and is a member of Toastmasters International.


Articles and Publications
Gwen is the co-author of a prominent book on the transition of family wealth, Family Wealth Transition Planning, published by Bloomberg in 2008 and now available through Wiley Publications. She is also the author of two leading treatises for law and taxation students published by Aspen Publishers.


Gwen's tax practice includes advice to individuals, businesses, nonprofit entities and local governments on federal and state tax issues. She is experienced in corporate, partnership and individual taxation matters, as well as the income tax and transfer tax issues of trusts and estates. Part of Gwen's practice focuses on the "sharing economy," including advice to cooperatives and cost-sharing entities, the creation of collaborative agreements among public and private entities, and innovative grant- and gift-making techniques. Gwen also addresses international tax issues, including foreign investment in businesses and assets, as well as FACTA and FBAR compliance. Gwen has been named as a Best Lawyer in Trusts and Estates since 2010 and as a Best Lawyer in Tax Law since 2012.  

In addition, Gwen is the Executive Director of an Oregon state agency that is housed at Tonkon Torp: the Oregon Facilities Authority. In this work, Gwen works closely with the Office of the State Treasurer to help Oregon nonprofits access low-cost financing for the acquisition of facilities and equipment through the issuance of revenue bonds. The Oregon Facilities Authority has issued over $3 billion in bonds in its 23 year history.

Gwen's clients appreciate her ability to listen and to hear not only to what is said, but what is not said, a critical element in helping them achieve their long-term objectives as well as short-term goals. Clients say she deploys a unique combination of intelligence and common sense to help them solve their legal problems, without forgetting the all-important human side of any problem.

Gwen began her law career at the Dallas, Texas law firm of Akin Gump, and then spent a number of years teaching law school. She taught tax law at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon for many years before joining the Eugene, Oregon boutique firm of Speer Hoyt PC. She came to Tonkon in 2008.  

  
Representative Matters

  • Drafting complex tax allocation and cash distribution provisions for LLC Operating Agreement on behalf of acquisition entity.
  • Reorganization of family business, including private letter ruling from IRS regarding spin-off of portion of the business. 
  • Structuring of cost-sharing arrangement for open source software project.
  • Advice to cooperatives on issues relating to patronage dividends, exempt status, transition to private status, and capitalization through stock issuance.
  • Advice to local government on tax implications of state-funded project on private lands.
  • Advice to §501(c)(3) entity on private foundation status and restructuring to achieve public charity status


Professional Organizations
Gwen is admitted to practice law in Oregon and California. She is on the Advisory Board for The Tax Advisor, which is the monthly publication of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Tax Forum, and a former member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Section of the Oregon State Bar. She enjoys speaking and is a member of Toastmasters International.


Articles and Publications
Gwen is the co-author of a prominent book on the transition of family wealth, Family Wealth Transition Planning, published by Bloomberg in 2008 and now available through Wiley Publications. She is also the author of two leading treatises for law and taxation students published by Aspen Publishers.


Gwen is the Board President of Youth, Rights & Justice, the premier Oregon public interest law firm that advocates for youth in the courts, legislature and wider world. She and Tonkon partner Vicki Ballou have formed the "CliF Project," which works collaboratively to leverage the expertise of YRJ with the pro bono services of attorneys in private practice. Over 20 Tonkon Torp attorneys participate in this project, along with lawyers from other firms.

Youth, Rights and Justice

Board President

Pro Bono Attorney

 

Oregon State Bar

Taxation Section Executive Committee

 

The Tax Advisor
Advisory Editorial Board (professional publication of the AICPA)

Portland Tax Forum
Board of Directors


Eugene Opera
Past President
Board of Directors (2002-2003)

 

Zonta Club of Eugene
Past President (2002-2003)

Gwen lives in downtown Portland and has learned to love the walking life that Portland is all about. She is married to Peyton Lieuallen, a retired educator, and has one son who is a student at Portland State University. Peyton and Gwen enjoy catering to the whims of their West Highland White Terrier, Bentley, and occasionally getting out on the golf course.