Susan L. Abbott

Susan L. Abbott

Susan L. Abbott

Sue Abbott, a partner in Goodwin’s Trusts & Estate Planning Practice and chair of both the firm’s Exempt Organization Group and Higher Education Practice, focuses her practice on tax-exempt organizations, probate and trust law, and estate planning, with a particular emphasis on charitable planning. She advises tax-exempt organizations on issues related to their formation, operations and planned giving programs.

Ms. Abbott has been recognized as a New England Super Lawyer and as a ”Top Woman of Law” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. In 2014, she received the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s Excellence in Pro Bono Award.

Professional Activities

Ms. Abbott is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a national elective organization of trust and estate attorneys, and serves on its Charitable Planning Committee. She is a member of the Boston and American Bar Associations, as well as the Boston Estate Planning Council, the Boston Probate Forum and the Planned Giving Group of New England. She is also a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).

Ms. Abbott is a past member of the Board of Trustees of Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education as well as the MCLE Estate Planning Curriculum Advisory Committee. She currently serves as Public Policy Chair of the Tax-Exempt Organization Section of the Boston Bar Association and served as co-chair of the Estate Planning Committee of the BBA’s Trusts and Estates Section from 2010-2012. In 2004, Ms. Abbott was selected to participate in the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program.

Professional Experience

From 1995 through 1999, Ms. Abbott was an associate at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., where she practiced in the fields of tax and estate planning. She served as a Senior Manager in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Wealth Transfer Solutions practice from 1999 through 2000.


Ms. Abbott is recognized in U.S. News-Best Lawyers for her work in Trusts & Estates. She has been named as a New England "Super Lawyer" since 2010 and previously was named as a Super Lawyer "Rising Star”.

In 2013 she was honored as a "Top Woman of Law" by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and in 2014 she received an "Excellence in Pro Bono" award from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Her work contributed significantly to the firm's receipt of the 2014 National Public Service Award from the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association.

Areas of Practice


Ms. Abbott works extensively with charitable organizations, helping them to incorporate and obtain tax-exempt status and advising on issues such as foreign charitable activity, political activity and lobbying restrictions, intermediate sanctions and the private foundation excise taxes. She also works with charitable organizations to structure and administer planned giving programs.

Ms. Abbott works with individual clients to structure their estate plans and lifetime gift programs to best achieve their objectives, while reducing federal and state estate taxes. Her practice encompasses all areas of estate, gift, generation-skipping and income tax planning. She has worked with clients to structure a broad variety of charitable gifts, including charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, private foundations, charitable gift annuities and conservation restrictions. Ms. Abbott also advises banks and trust companies regarding their trust programs and handles complex estate administration matters.

Her recent experience includes:

  • Leading the Goodwin Procter team that set up and obtained 501(c)(3) status for the One Fund Boston, formed to benefit those most affected by the Boston Marathon bombings and related events
  • Advising New Profit, a nonprofit social innovation and venture philanthropy fund, on the organization’s role as a funder and intermediary in the nation’s largest financial investment in a pay for success (PFS) initiative
  • Advising Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution regarding the charitable gift of a deep-sea submersible by filmmaker James Cameron



J.D., 1994
Duke University School of Law

(magna cum laude)

M.A., 1994
Duke University
B.A., 1990
Williams College

(cum laude with honors in history)



District of Columbia
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