Sharon Weinberg Nokes is Senior Officer and Associate General Counsel to The Pew Charitable Trusts, a multi-billion-dollar philanthropy, where she serves as principal legal advisor to Pew’s Philanthropic Partnerships Group and Pew’s Finance Department, and advises Pew’s management, and staff on tax, governance, corporate, compliance, and international issues that affect Pew as a global nonprofit organization and tax-exempt public charity.
Before joining Pew in 2015, Ms. Nokes practiced law with the nationally-recognized Exempt Organizations team at Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered (Washington, D.C.), where she was promoted to Of Counsel in 2011 and was elected to Member of the firm in 2014. In this role, she provided comprehensive legal, tax, transactional and governance advice to complex nonprofits, including some of the nation’s largest charities and foundations, universities, advocacy organizations, and their domestic and international affiliates. She also advised donors regarding their charitable giving alternatives implemented through the use of wills, trusts, donor-advised funds, family foundations, and other vehicles. Sharon regularly represented clients in complex IRS examinations and disputes with state attorneys general, and before the Treasury Department and congressional tax-writing committees with regard to proposed or recently-enacted laws and regulations. She was named a 2015-16 “Rising Star” in the field of Nonprofit Organizations Law by Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers (ThomsonReuters).
Ms. Nokes is a regular speaker at national professional conferences on exempt organizations issues and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Taxation of Exempts (ThomsonReuters), a bi-monthly publication for nonprofit executives and professional advisors to nonprofit organizations. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center since 2004, and is a member of the Board of Directors and Board Treasurer of Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts.
Ms. Nokes earned her law degree in 2004 from Georgetown University Law Center (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif), where she was a senior writing fellow and managing editor of the law review. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Before entering the legal profession, Ms. Nokes was a professional musician, performing with orchestras in New York City and in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, and serving as the principal flutist of the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C.