A Conversation with Elham Ardestani & Jonathan Lurie from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

November 14, 2022

“Philanthropy does as much for the person giving as it does for the person receiving.” Jonathan Lurie

Jonathan Lurie and Elham Ardestani are both attorneys at the Los Angeles office of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Jonathan is senior counsel and Elham is an associate in the Private Clients Group at the firm. Both focus on matters involving estate and wealth transfer planning, trusts, family governance, business succession planning, charitable organizations, estate administration and tax planning for high-net-worth individuals and families.

As part of their work with clients, Jonathan and Elham routinely discuss the importance of including philanthropy in a wealth planning portfolio. To convey the benefits of giving, Jonathan and Elham often describe their own philanthropic passions with clients. Jonathan’s passion lies in working with children. He sits on the board for Camp Bob Waldorf, a nonprofit camp that provides a safe environment where children learn to be creative, responsible, and thoughtful individuals. On weekends, Jonathan gives his time to volunteer as a referee for children’s soccer games.

Elham sits on the board of the Warren Christopher Scholarship, which provides scholarships every year to outstanding LAUSD high school sophomores. Elham was a recipient of this scholarship when she was a student and takes pride in seeing this program evolve with her support and continued mentorship of recipients.

“Philanthropy is contagious,” says Jonathan. “When you are passionate about something, when something is important to you, that is something that the clients pick up on. It is amazing how [clients] will respond to raw passion when it comes to philanthropy.”

“It’s a duty for everyone to give back, whether it is their time and effort or money,” said Elham. “There is a lot of need in communities not fulfilled through traditional social service institutions, that is where philanthropy comes in. Philanthropy really is contagious and when you convey your own passion to clients, it ignites a spark in the client to do good and move towards their passions that can fulfill some need in the community.”

Jonathan and Elham enjoy working with CCF to facilitate clients’ charitable goals. Jonathan and Elham appreciate CCF’s involvement in the community and, consequentially, CCF’s in-depth knowledge of key issues facing Los Angeles.

“When you are working with knowledgeable partners, it makes the work with the client that much easier,” explained Jonathan. “[CCF offers] a sophisticated and knowledgeable group to work with. For many, merely writing a check is not enough. Clients want to get involved in the community. When they work with an organization that is committed and is in itself active in the community, it is so much easier to generate the enthusiasm that comes with positive philanthropy.”

Elham believes that “CCF lives and breathes Los Angeles and knows where the city’s needs lie. It is particularly attuned and that is why CCF makes for a great philanthropic partner.”

Jonathan shared that CCF has been particularly helpful when it comes to looking out for clients’ interests and ensuring that funds are operated according to relevant laws and policy. “When clients have been working with an organization like CCF, whether it’s in a private foundation context or donor advised fund context, whether it is with local charities or foreign charities, CCF is able to give technical advice on very important issues that will avoid problems.”

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