Varner J. Johns, III

Managing Partner

Jay Johns’ practice focuses on estate and business planning, probate, and trust administration, and specializes in minimizing taxes on the transfer of wealth using limited partnerships, limited liability companies and succession planning for family businesses.

“My clients have spent a lot of time — as well as enormous passion and energy — building what they’ve achieved,” says Jay, “It’s my job to safeguard their wealth and wishes as they look to what lies ahead and to future generations. It’s extremely rewarding work for me personally, as it doesn’t just benefit my client, but also their families, their employees, and frequently the entire community.”

Many of Jay’s high net worth clients are committed to supporting the community through charitable giving. He helps structure those gifts in a way that not only benefits the charity, but also maximizes the tax benefits to the donor. Jay also has experience organizing tax-exempt organizations, so he’s able to fully understand both sides of the transaction and is especially well-versed in advising donors and organizations alike.

Jay was raised in Loma Linda, California. During college Jay worked as a legislative intern with Congressman Jerry Pettis representing a large congressional district in southern California. After graduating from college in California, Jay and his wife Cathy moved to Oregon in 1975 where Jay began attending Willamette University. He and Cathy then lived in Dallas, Oregon while Jay attended law school during which time Jay also worked as a law clerk and bailiff for the Polk County Circuit Court. After law school, the couple moved to Virginia where Jay obtained his Masters in Taxation before returning to Oregon and settling in Eugene in 1979.

Jay is admitted to practice in all Oregon state and federal courts and the U.S. Tax Court. A member of the Oregon State Bar Association since January 1979, he also is a past president of the Eugene/Springfield Tax Association and the Oregon Estate Planning Council. He is a trustee of the Endowment Fund of the Eugene Symphony Association and the Emerald Christian Academy Endowment Fund. Jay also serves on the board for Cascade Manor Foundation and has been active in numerous other civic and charitable organizations.

Jay is an avid fly fisherman, average golfer and outstanding handball player. His wife of 35 years, Cathy, is a registered nurse, and while she is mostly retired from nursing she continues to be a successful gardener with a particular fondness for growing orchids and roses. Jay and Cathy spend their time together hiking, canoeing and snow skiing. They have two children – Kimberly is a Registered Nurse like her mother and a nurse educator for the Oncology Department of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and Matthew is a chemist at Life Sciences (formerly Molecular Probes) in Eugene, Oregon.

Education

Loma Linda University (B.A., 1975, History and Political Science)
Willamette University (J.D., 1978)
Marshall Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia (LL.M., 1979)