Alston & Bird has expanded its federal and international tax capabilities with the addition of Shawna Tunnell as tax partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Tunnell joins from Hogan Lovells, where she was a partner and practiced for more than 20 years.
“Shawna is an exceptional, highly accomplished tax lawyer and one of the country’s foremost practitioners advising on the tax treatment of real estate investment trusts,” said John Baron, Alston & Bird partner and leader of its Federal & International Tax Group. “She brings a robust domestic tax practice based on her extraordinary subject-matter expertise and adept client work, coupled with her outstanding creativity and depth of knowledge.”
At the heart of her practice, Tunnell advises both private and publicly traded REITs on a broad range of tax planning and transactional issues – from taxable and nontaxable acquisitions and dispositions to public offerings of equity and debt securities. She also advises clients in forming, operating, and investing in joint ventures, partnerships, and limited liability companies, including private equity and real estate investment funds.
In addition to real estate, Tunnell’s clients span the media and entertainment, technology and telecom, and energy sectors. She also assists nonprofits with exemption, reporting, and investment matters.
Her client work includes serving as tax counsel to a leading private equity real estate firm in forming several $500 million-plus investment funds and advising a publicly traded REIT on a $3 billion combination and spin-off transaction.
Tunnell is a frequent writer and speaker on trends and issues affecting the taxation of REITs, including the impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. A member of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, she is also a member of the board of advisors to the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
“Shawna adds significant cachet to our marquee tax practice, where she will work with our other market-leading practices to serve our clients in financial services, real estate and investment, and finance,” said Dennis Garris, partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s Washington, D.C. office. “As we further grow our tax practice as one of the largest and most respected among U.S. law firms, it is our goal to continue to deliver to our clients the type of high-caliber talent that Shawna offers.”
Tunnell is the most recent high-profile partner addition to Alston & Bird’s tax practice, which was named “Law Firm of the Year” in 2020 by U.S. News-Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms.” She follows Richard Slowinski, who joined from Baker McKenzie as tax partner in October.