Suzanne Ross McDowell

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Suzanne Ross McDowell advises charities, private foundations, trade associations and professional societies, social welfare organizations, educational institutions and other exempt organizations and their boards of directors on tax and corporate governance issues.

Suzanne’s practice includes counseling clients on tax planning matters and representing them before the IRS, courts, Congress and the Department of Treasury. She also advises nonprofit corporations on a broad array of governance matters including board and committee structures, fiduciary duties, conflicts of interest, potential director liabilities, and protection from liability.

Additionally, she conducts confidential internal investigations on behalf of boards of directors. Clients benefit from Suzanne’s broad experience and understanding of the nonprofit sector that she gained while working at the US Treasury Department, in-house at a global charitable organization, and now in private practice advising exempt organizations.

She served as Associate Tax Legislative Counsel in the Office of Tax Policy, US Treasury Department, where she was responsible for all legislative and regulatory issues affecting exempt organizations, and worked on the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Later, she worked as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for the National Geographic Society, where she developed cost-effective practical solutions for a wide variety of complex legal and business issues.

Recognized in Legal 500as a “top lawyer in the tax-exempt organization field,” Suzanne is noted for her “excellent judgment in advising clients on challenging issues” and her ability to “distill and present complex tax concepts in a way that is easy to understand.”

Professional Affiliation:

  • Adviser, Restatement of the Law of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations, American Law Institute (2015-present)
  • Former Chair, Exempt Organizations Committee, Tax Section, American Bar Association
  • Fellow, American College of Tax Counsel (2007-present)
  • Chair, Exempt Organizations Committee, ABA Tax Section (2011-2013)
  • Co-Chair, ALI-CLE, Tax Exempt Organizations: An Advanced Course (2010-2013)
  • Member, IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) (2004-2007)


  • J.D., The George Washington University Law School, with high honors
  • B.A., Smith College, Scott Foundation Award for Leadership, American Studies



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What types of cases Attorney Suzanne Ross McDowell & Steptoe & Johnson LLP can handle?
Steptoe & Johnson LLP can handle cases related to laws concerning Tax, Public & Tax Exempt Finance. We manually verify each attorney’s practice areas before approving their profiles and reviews on our website.
Where is Steptoe & Johnson LLP located?
Steptoe & Johnson LLP is located at 1330 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA. You can reach out to Steptoe & Johnson LLP using their phone line 202 429 6209. You can also check their website
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Steptoe & Johnson LLP
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