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David Wheeler Newman

Partner, through his Professional Corporation - los angeles


Two early experiences transformed David Newman. He was exposed to the world outside of his life by his mother, an LAUSD educator, who organized a year of educational European travel. And he joined the Boy Scouts where he was introduced to community service by the adult troop leaders, LA firemen, who were the heroes of his economically mixed neighborhood. David became the youngest Eagle Scout in the LA area before he was thirteen (which taught him that if he set a goal, he had a chance of achieving it). His troop was a diverse group of boys, many of whom would have limited opportunities in life, which galvanized his lifelong commitment to social justice.

These lessons have stayed with David throughout his life and career. As a volunteer board member of Santa Monica mental health organization Step Up on Second, he helped configure creative financing for low-income housing with crucial programming space to serve the mentally ill. He went on to co-found New Roads School, with a curricular emphasis on social justice, where he chaired the board of directors for ten years. He was thrilled to help organize the Suu Foundation, which helps Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi with humanitarian work in Myanmar. He was one of the organizers, and continues as pro bono general counsel, of Farhang Foundation, the premier Iranian cultural organization in Southern California. And he helps the LA Regional Food Bank because, as a third-generation Angeleno, it makes him crazy that there are residents of a wealthy metropolis who lack food security.

When he is not serving the charitable sector, you can find David and his wife Mahnaz at concerts presented by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. And he continues to travel:  in the last few years he and Mahnaz have visited every continent except Antarctica. (David’s goal – which he knows from experience is achievable – is to remedy that omission soon.)


Legal Expertise

David Newman represents individuals and families on estate planning and tax planning in connection with investment activities. He advises charitable organizations concerning governance, tax exemption and charitable gift planning programs.

Select institutional clients include:

  • UCLA Foundation
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Catalina Island Conservancy
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Salvation Army Western Territory
  • Los Angeles Jewish Community Foundation

Representative Matters

  • Provides highly personalized tax and estate planning counsel to families, with some relationships spanning decades into the next generation of those families.
  • Works with other advisors in the family office environment to coordinate and implement estate planning with philanthropic objectives, including advisory services to numerous family foundations.
  • Served as the borrower's counsel for several independent schools utilizing tax-exempt bond financing for acquisition and construction of school facilities.
  • Routinely represent charitable organizations, their officers and board members in various matters before the California Attorney General, including mergers of nonprofits, executive compensation and benefits, and the acquisition and disposition of assets.
  • Represent foundations, donors and charities in negotiation and drafting of gift agreements to establish endowments, construct facilities and fund programs, including provisions covering restrictions on the use of funds, conditions to performance obligations and donor recognition through naming opportunities.
  • Serve as lead attorney in the firm's engagement as general counsel to the UCLA Foundation, and advise a large number of other universities, colleges, hospital foundations, museums, environmental groups, social service agencies and other charities on endowment, fiduciary and gift planning matters.

Honors & Awards

  • "2015 Los Angeles Non-Profit / Charities Lawyer of the Year," The Best Lawyers in America 
  • "2013 Los Angeles Tax Law Lawyer of the Year," The Best Lawyers in America
  • Leading Lawyers in Not-for-Profit, Legal 500 (2015)
  • "Dana Latham Award" for outstanding contributions to the community and legal profession in the field of taxation, Los Angeles County Bar Association Tax Section (2012)
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of:
    • Trusts and Estates (2006-2015)
    • Tax Law (2006-2015)
    • Non-Profit/Charities Law (2007-2015)
  • "Expert in State and Individual Tax Planning," Legal 500 US (2011) and Tax Directors Handbook (2011)
  • "Leading California Tax Attorney," Chambers USA (2010-2013)
  • "Top 5% of lawyers in Southern California," Southern California Super Lawyers (2004-2015)
  • "Top 100 Attorneys,” Worth Magazine (December 2005)
  • AV® Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell

Professional, Business and civic Affiliations

  • Board Member, California Community Foundation
  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
  • Member, National Association of College and University Attorneys
  • Former Member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee, American Council on Gift Annuities.
  • Former Chair, American Council on Gift Annuities State Regulations Committee.
  • President Emeritus of the Board of Trustees, New Roads School 
  • Former member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee, National Committee of Planned Giving
  • Former Chair, Tax Section, Beverly Hills Bar Association
  • Former Chair, Tax Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Former Chair, Tax Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association committees on foreign tax and tax-exempt organizations
  • Former Trustee and member of the Executive Committee, New Visions Foundation 
  • Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Professional Advisors Council
  • California Club
  • Men's Garden Club of Los Angeles


Media Mentions


Client Alerts


  • U.S. Tax Court, 1979
  • California,1978


New York University School of Law, LL.M. Taxation, 1979

University of California Los Angeles School of Law, J.D., 1977

Claremont McKenna College, B.A., 1973; cum laude

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