The Best Lawyers in America® 2015

Robert A. Johnson

Shareholder
T:412 562 8832  |   F:412 562 1041 Pittsburgh
Robert A. Johnson regularly advises a variety of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, e.g., charitable (including health care organizations), religious and scientific research organizations (IRC § 501(c)(3)); social welfare organizations (IRC § 501(c)(4)); trade associations (IRC § 501(c)(6)); social clubs (IRC § 501(c)(7)); fraternal beneficiary societies (IRC § 501(c)(8)); voluntary employees' beneficiary associations (IRC § 501(c)(9)); and mutual cemetery companies (IRC § 501(c)(13)).

Bob's advice has encompassed a wide variety of issues, including, among others, corporate organization and operation, corporate transactions, obtaining and maintaining federal tax-exempt status, IRS audits, for-profit and nonprofit subsidiaries and affiliated entities, governance and conflicts of interest, joint ventures, unrelated business income, lobbying restrictions and prohibited political activities, the rules prohibiting private inurement and provision of more than incidental private benefits, intermediate sanctions and excess benefit transactions, preparation of IRS Form 990, FIN 48 (accounting standards for disclosure of uncertain tax positions) and special issues regarding compensation and employee benefits for nonprofits. He has also provided assistance on tax-exemption issues related to tax-exempt bond financings.

Bob has also practiced employee benefits law for almost 40 years.  His employee benefits practice has included pension plans, "rabbi" trusts, 401(k) plans, 403 (b)plans and 457 plans for tax-exempt organizations, nonqualified deferred compensation, employee stock ownership plans ("ESOPs"), executive employment and change-of-control agreements, welfare plans, ERISA and related tax problems. In addition, he has decades of experience in dealing with employee benefit plan issues in business acquisitions, divestitures and major financing transactions.

Bob holds and has held numerous positions in charitable organizations, including: president and pro bono counsel of Early Music America (Seattle, WA.); pro bono counsel (former President and director) of Renaissance & Baroque, an early music concert series in Pittsburgh; treasurer of the Friends of the Music Library (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh); director, secretary and pro bono counsel of the CTC Foundation; pro bono counsel (and former director) of the River City Brass Band; director and pro bono counsel of the River City Brass Band Charitable Endowment; pro bono counsel (and former director and co-president) of Chatham Baroque; pro bono counsel of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania; trustee and chair, budget/finance committee, of the Presbyterian Association of Chautauqua, NY; former director of Pittsburgh Opera; and former director and president of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh. He has been recognized professionally by election as a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. His participation in professional organizations includes: past chair of the Allegheny Tax Society; member of the Pittsburgh Tax Club; and member of the American Bar Association, where he is a member of the employee benefits committee and the exempt organizations committee of the ABA Section of Taxation, as well as a member of the ABA Section of Health Care Law.

Bob has been active for many years in writing for and speaking to professional groups on tax-exempt organization law, and on pension, employee benefits and executive compensation law, including special problems faced by tax-exempt organizations. He has been a frequent lecturer/author in tax-exempt organization law seminars sponsored by National Business Institute and in employee benefits and executive compensation law seminars sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. Bob has also published several articles and co-authored a chapter on executive severance and change-of-control agreements for Executive Compensation (BNA Books, 2002).

Bob is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Law. He has been listed continuously for more than 20 years in The Best Lawyers in America®, which is based on peer-surveys of 16,000 lawyers nationwide. He is currently listed in The Best Lawyers in both the specialty of Employee Benefits Law and the specialty of Nonprofit/Charities Law. He was named "Pittsburgh Employee Benefits Lawyer of the Year" for 2011 by Best Lawyers. Since 2004, Bob has been consistently selected to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® list, representing the top 5 percent of attorneys practicing in Pennsylvania.

A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Bob joined the firm in 1969.