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Douglas D. Drysdale (1924 - 2018)

Founding Member, Washington, D.C.


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 died on November 27, 2018. He will be remembered as a brilliant lawyer, a wonderful colleague and mentor, and a consummate gentleman.