Tonkon Torp Partner Gwen Griffith has been honored by the Portland Business Journal as one of its 2022 Women of Influence. The highly regarded award recognizes women who are business and community leaders in the greater Portland area. Selection is based on career accomplishments, business influence and leadership, and community and civic involvement.
Tonkon Torp is proud that Gwen’s expertise and efforts have been recognized by the award. As a woman who influences many, her contributions to the community are impressive, long lasting, and inspiring. We look forward to celebrating with Gwen on March 2 at a luncheon hosted by the Portland Business Journal.
An Inspirational Expert
Gwen’s influence as a business and pro bono leader is felt through her work as a trusted legal counselor, state agency administrator, law professor, author, advocate, and speaker.
She is the Chair of Tonkon Torp’s Tax Practice Group and is a member of the firm’s Managing Board. Alongside a thriving tax practice in which she counsels companies large and small as a trusted advisor on all facets of taxation, Gwen has served as the Executive Director for the Oregon Facilities Authority (OFA) since 2007. Her lasting contribution to the education of future tax professionals includes her work as a Professor of Law in Texas, Florida, and at the Willamette University College of Law teaching tax courses, and as an author of publications geared to tax law students.
Widely recognized as one of Oregon’s top tax experts, Gwen is frequently invited to speak on tax issues by the Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Oregon State Bar, the Association for Financial Professionals, the Oregon Association of Tax Consultants, the Association of Public Pension Fund Auditors, and the Northwest Association for Finance Professionals.
A Community Force
Gwen has a talent and passion for rallying individuals behind a cause and getting people with specialized abilities to share their expertise with those in need. In 2009, Gwen and a former Tonkon Torp partner created The CLiF (Changing Lives Forever) Project in collaboration with Youth, Rights & Justice (YRJ), the region’s premier nonprofit juvenile law public interest law firm. The model provides pro bono legal services to juvenile offenders who are deemed good candidates for removal from Oregon’s registry but who can’t afford a lawyer to help them navigate the complex process. Dozens of volunteer attorneys throughout Oregon have provided pro bono service through CLiF and the program has a 100% success rate in the 47 cases taken to hearing. Inspired by her work with CLiF, Gwen and several peers created Oregon Voices in 2009. The nonprofit educates the public and the legislature about reasonable approaches to society’s reaction to sexual offenses, and provides support to registered citizens and their families.
At the outset of COVID-19, she applied the CLiF model of combining resources, training, and enthusiastic volunteers to design a program that provided Oregon’s First Responders with pro bono estate planning services. She recruited attorney volunteers who received training and forms from Tonkon Torp estate planning attorneys so they could in turn draft the appropriate documents for these clients – giving participating First Responders a little peace of mind in a time of crisis.