Leila Vaughan advises clients on business and investment tax matters, especially relating to private equity and real estate investment funds and mergers and acquisitions. Leila also advises nonprofit clients on tax-exempt issues.

Leila is an author for Bloomberg’s BNA Tax Management Portfolios and teaches nonprofit law at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice.

Client Experience

  • Private equity, real estate and lending funds.

  • Mergers and acquisitions.

  • Real estate investment trusts.

  • Tax-free reorganizations and spin-offs.

  • Nonprofits and nonprofit executives.

  • Qualified Opportunity Zones.

Personal Insights

My Greatest Strengths
  • Understanding clients’ objectives and providing creative tax planning solutions.

  • Advocating clients’ interests in private letter rulings and tax controversies.

  • Providing attention to important details to identify tax issues and avoid potential tax pitfalls.

  • Working with speed and efficiency to provide clients with quality advice.

  • I successfully defended a nonprofit executive against the IRS’s assertion that she had engaged in excess benefit transactions over multiple years.

  • I have obtained tax exemption for many clients, including charitable activist organizations, animal rescue organizations, a certification nonprofit promoting socially responsible business, and an athletic host committee.

  • I started my career and spent several years at a prominent national law firm and have also worked in the national office of a large accounting firm, focusing on mergers and acquisitions.

  • I’m a lecturer in Non-Profit Law, in the Non-Profit Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice.

  • In 2010, I founded a nonprofit and I continue to serve on the board and volunteer in my free time.

  • I have been vegan since 2001 and love vegan cooking and baking.


Practice Focus
  • Partnership Taxation

  • Corporate Taxation

  • Qualified Opportunity Zones

  • Tax-Exemption


  • Real estate

  • Private equity

  • Non-profits


  • Publication, Bloomberg , March 25, 2022
  • Publication, The Practical Lawyer, June 2021
  • Podcast, JumpStartPhilly Real Estate Radio Show , February 2021
  • Publication, RCCB Tax Alert, May 2020
  • Prospective Tax Planning in a Down Economy
    Publication, RCCB Tax Alert, April 2020
  • COVID-19 Tax Alert
    Publication, RCCB Tax Alert, April 2020
  • Opportunity Zone Latest Developments
    Podcast, Federal Bar Association Tax Law Conference, March 2020
  • Qualified Opportunity Zones: What You Need to Know About Investing in the Zone
    Podcast, Philadelphia Bar Association, February 2020
  • Nuts and Bolts of Opportunity Zones and Qualified Opportunity Funds
    Speaking Engagement, American Bar Association , January 2020
  • Common and Complex Case Studies and Real-World Issues With Opportunity Zones as Qualified Opportunity Funds
    Speaking Engagement, American Bar Association 2020 Mid-Year Meeting, January 2020
  • Where Do We Stand on Qualified Opportunity Funds
    Speaking Engagement, American Bar Association Tax Section Fall Meeting, October 2019
  • Publication, American Bar Association, July 2019
  • Qualified Opportunity Zone: Investments After the April 2019 Proposed Regulations
    Podcast, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, June 2019
  • Seminar Series: Qualified Opportunity Zone
    Podcast, Montgomery County Development Corp., March 2019
  • What You Need to Know About Investing in the Zone
    Speaking Engagement, Qualified Opportunity Zones, February 22, 2019
  • Qualified Opportunity Zones – Reboot
    Publication, American Bar Association Tax Section Mid-Year Meeting, January 2019
  • Qualified Opportunity Zones - What Are the Rules?
    Podcast, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, January 2019
  • Publication, American Bar Association, January 2019
  • Opportunity Zones – What’s All the Buzz About?
    Speaking Engagement, 10th Annual High Net Worth and Family Wealth Conference, December 2018
  • Qualified Opportunity Zones 
    Podcast, Philly Living/Keller Williams, November 14, 2018
  • What the New Tax Law Means for Lawyers and Law Firms
    Speaking Engagement, Philadelphia Bar Association, March 2018
  • Tax Comments on Proposed Fractions Rule Regulations
    Publication, American Bar Association, March 2018
  • Tax and Accounting Update
    Speaking Engagement, Private Equity CFO Association, January 2018
Videos & Podcasts
  • Intricacies that Allow Investors to Operate a New or Existing Business in a QOZ
    Podcast, June 19, 2019
  • What Structure Works Best for Your Opportunity Fund?
    Podcast, June 5, 2019
  • The Timeline for Forming, Executing, and Exiting an QOF
    Podcast, May 15, 2019
  • New Regulations:  On April 17, 2019
    Podcast, May 1, 2019
  • State Tax Credits and Grant Programs
    Podcast, April 3, 2019
  • QOZs and Tax Filings
    Podcast, March 20, 2019
  • Current Developments in Opportunity Zone Investments
    Podcast, January 16, 2019
  • The Challenges and Solutions to Maximizing Opportunity Zone Benefits
    Podcast, December 5, 2018
  •  The Recently Issued Proposed Regulations
    Podcast, November 7, 2018
  • Launching an Opportunity Fund
    Podcast, September 19, 2018
  •  Structuring an Investment in an Opportunity Zone
    Podcast, September 5, 2018

Community & Professional

Community & Professional
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, Lecturer in Non-Profit Law in the Non-Profit Leadership Program 
  • American Bar Association, Tax Section Committee on Sales, Exchanges and Basis, Vice-Chair
  • Philadelphia Bar Association Tax Council, Member
  • Peace Advocacy Network, President and Director 


LL.M., Taxation, New York University, 2010

J.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2006

B.A., Duke University, 2003


  • Pennsylvania
    Washington, D.C.
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