Sonya has an interdisciplinary practice that includes the areas of tax, real estate, corporate, and estate and asset protection planning law. Sonya advises clients in various industry groups, including real estate development, nonprofits, foundations, health care organizations, hospitals, closely-held businesses, and financial services.
Sonya earned her J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School, Masters in Tax Law from Northwestern University School of Law, and a B.S. in Finance from Xavier University. Leveraging her tax and financial expertise, Sonya provides clients with practical, creative, and business-oriented solutions to achieve their goals in a tax-efficient manner. Sonya also serves as outside general counsel to real estate developers and nonprofit organizations, providing strategic and value-added advice on many issues.
Sonya has extensive experience representing individuals, estates, trusts, business and tax-exempt organizations in connection with state and federal civil and criminal disputes, audits, investigations, examinations, collection and settlement matters before the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Tax Court, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Sonya serves as a leader of Taft’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, including as co-chair of Taft’s Gender Advancement Committee, which works to develop, promote, and advance women attorneys within Taft, the legal profession, and the community.
Tax, Real Estate, Business Succession, and Estate Planning
- Advise clients on tax and non-tax business structuring issues in connection with partnership, S-corporation, real estate, international and business succession transactions and matters.
- Advise real estate developers, investors and beneficiaries of estates in structuring tax-advantaged transactions, including tax-deferred exchanges under Sections 1031 and 1033, qualified conservation easements, historic preservation matters, and qualified opportunity zone investments.
- Advise and draft tax opinions on behalf of developers and nonprofits in connection with new market tax credits, historic preservation tax credits, and low-income housing tax credits.
- Advise on wealth transfer planning for individuals and families, including implementation of sophisticated wealth transfer techniques, such as transferring of interests in family-owned entities and charitable gifts of S-Corporation stock.
- Advise family-owned businesses in succession planning and related estate planning issues.
- Advise corporate executives and businesses on structuring equity and incentive plans and award agreements.
Tax Controversy and Civil and Criminal Tax Investigations
- Represented a senior level partner at a major accounting firm indicted for violations of federal tax law. Following a five-week jury trial in January 2013, the partner was acquitted of all charges.
- Represented partnership before U.S. Tax Court and IRS Appeals in connection with IRS’s challenge of partnership transaction that generated more than $173 million in deductions and $1.3 billion in losses and obtained extremely favorable settlement for client.
- Represented individuals with undisclosed foreign financial accounts and handle IRS voluntary disclosures, civil audits, and criminal investigations with respect to such offshore matters.
- Represents clients at all stages of civil and criminal tax matters, including investigations, pleading, sentencing, settlement, and appeals stages.
- Represents clients in government examinations of complex tax shelters and other tax-advantaged strategies.
Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Organizations
- Represents nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations and foundations in all aspects of their organization and operation, including formation, governance, mergers and restructurings, unrelated business income tax matters, intermediate sanctions, joint ventures, endowment funds, fundraising, charitable giving and planned giving programs, and compliance with state law charity registration requirements.
- Represents hospital systems and health care entities in connection with restructurings, joint ventures with for-profit entities, acquisitions of for-profit entities, conversion of for-profit entities to non-profit, unrelated business income tax issues, and supporting organization issues.
- Advise family and corporate private foundations with respect to private foundation tax law restrictions and limitations related to self-dealing, excess business holding, taxable expenditures, program-related investments, and minimum distribution requirements.
- Represents nonprofit organizations and executives in audits and investigations before the IRS and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
- Represents nonprofit organizations in connection with obtaining and maintaining bingo licenses.
Honoree, Best Lawyers in America, Family Law (2024)
Taft Excellence in Pro Bono Award
“Forty Under 40” Honoree, Cincinnati Business Courier (2021)
Profiled in Indian Hill Connection magazine (2020)
Featured among the “Women Who Move Cincinnati” in Cincinnati Magazine (2020)
Honoree, Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars, Tax (2014 – 2019)
Taft Legacy Award Honoree, Taft (2018)
Top 100 Trial Lawyers Honoree, The National Trial Lawyers, Criminal Defense (2014)
Cincinnati’s Finest Young Professional Award, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (2010)
Cincy Magazine, Leading Lawyer (2018 – 2020)
Profiled in Cincy Magazine (2019)
All Service Areas
- Vanderbilt University Law School (2007)
- Northwestern University School of Law (2007)
- Xavier University (2003)
- Federal - U.S. Tax Court
- Federal - Southern District of Ohio
- State - Ohio
- American Bar Association
Member, Taxation Section
- Cincinnati Bar Association
Vice President, Nonprofit Law Committee
- National Trial Lawyers
- Leadership Cincinnati
Member, Class 46
- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
- American Cancer Society
Member, Board of Directors
Member, Discovery Ball Board of Ambassadors (2015)
- Boy Scouts of America
Member, Professional Leadership Network
Former Executive Board Member
- Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Member, Board of Directors
- Greater Cincinnati Minority Counsel Program
- Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber C-Change Leadership Development Program
Member, Class 7
- Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati Volunteer Lawyers Project
- Nashville Pro Bono Program
- The Ndukwe Foundation
Former Board Member
- Women Writing for (a) Change
Former Member, Advisory Council