Ellen E. Halfon


T +1.216.861.7715
F +1.216.696.0740


Ellen Halfon practices in all areas of estate and gift tax planning and estate administration, primarily focusing on sophisticated estate and succession planning for high-net-worth individuals and families, including through the use of dynastic trusts, family limited partnerships/LLCs and structured gifting strategies that further dynastic family and financial goals. She has significant experience assisting such clients to achieve their philanthropic goals through the use of charitable trusts and other vehicles (e.g., donor advised funds, private family foundations, supporting organizations, charitable remainder and lead trusts, and charitable gift annuities), which often includes developing strategies that encourage multigenerational involvement in family philanthropy.

Ellen serves as counsel to numerous public charities and private foundations (and has also advised noncharitable exempt organizations, such as trade associations), providing guidance in such areas as governance and board/fiduciary best practices; obtaining and maintaining tax exempt status, grant making and grant administration (domestic and international); compliance with "private foundations" rules and "intermediate sanctions" rules to avoid severe excise taxes; endowment development, planned giving and structured donor gift agreements; unrelated business taxable income; state and federal reporting and compliance; restrictions on lobbying and political activities; and joint ventures and related/subsidiary organization planning, among others. Ellen lectures regularly and has published articles in the areas of estate, gift and charitable tax planning, as well as practice issues for tax- exempt organizations.

Recognitions and Memberships


  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2013 to Present)
    • Ohio: Non-Profit / Charities Law
      • Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" (2014)
    • Ohio: Trusts and Estates


  • American Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Estate Planning Council of Cleveland


  • Cleveland Museum of Art: Planned Giving Advisory Council, Past Chair
  • Jewish Federation of Cleveland: Professional Advisory Council, Past Chair
  • University Hospitals of Cleveland: Diamond Advisory Group
  • Case Western Reserve University: Estate Planning Advisory Council

Prior Positions

  • Jones Day: Counsel (1987 to 2010)


  • Ohio
  • California [Inactive]


  • J.D., Loyola Law School, 1987; cum laude; Chief Note and Comment Editor, Law Review
  • B.A., Immaculate Heart College, 1980