William R. Johnson

Shareholder  |  Columbia

Meet Will

Will Johnson leads Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd's Economic Development practice group and concentrates his practice on economic development, corporate law and tax matters. His work has helped facilitate over $3 billion in domestic and foreign investment in South Carolina.

Will's work in the economic development area includes negotiating and drafting fee in lieu of tax agreements, structuring special source revenue credit arrangements and assisting companies with a host of other incentives such as job development credits, job tax credits, state and local economic development grants, and the South Carolina Textile Communities Revitalization and Abandoned Buildings Acts.

His work in the corporate area includes a wide variety of general corporate matters such as contract review, mergers and acquisitions, succession planning, shareholder and governance issues, preferential transfer cases in bankruptcy and franchise law.

Will's work in the tax field encompasses state and local tax planning on property, income and sales tax matters, property tax appeals, conservation easements, estate and gift tax optimization and federal and international tax planning for multinational corporations.

A Lake City, South Carolina native, Will is an enthusiastic advocate for the Special Olympics, creating a partnership between the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division and Special Olympics South Carolina in 2010. He serves on the Special Olympics South Carolina board of directors and has spoken publicly on the “End the R Word,” Project Unify and Law Enforcement Torch Run campaigns.

Education
  • New York University, LL.M., 2006
  • University of South Carolina, J.D., magna cum laude, 2005
  • Wofford College, B.A., summa cum laude, 2002
Admissions
  • South Carolina, 2005
Honors and Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America© Tax Law (2013-2018)
  • American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division "Top 40 Young Lawyers" and “Star of the Year” 2016, “Star of the Quarter" 2012 and "Presidential Service Award" 2012 and 2015
  • The State “20 Under 40” 2015
  • University of South Carolina School of Law Alumni Council “Compleat Lawyer” 2014
  • Columbia Chamber “Young Professional of the Year” 2014
  • South Carolina Lawyers Weekly "Leadership in Law Award” 2014
  • South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division “Young Lawyer of the Year” 2010
  • Recipient of the Harry J. Rudick Memorial Award, the highest academic honor given to a student in the tax program at NYU
  • South Carolina Law Review, Associate Editor-in-Chief
  • Order of the Wig and Robe, Chief Justice
  • Order of the Coif
  • Recipient of the Dean’s Medallion for graduating first in his law school class
  • Wofford College, Student Body Treasurer and Letterman on men's tennis team
Professional and Civic Activities
  • Florence County Economic Development Partnership, Board Member
  • Darlington County Progress, Board Member
  • Committee of 100, a partnership of the Central SC Alliance
  • South Carolina Economic Developers Association
  • Columbia Economics Club
  • Columbia Tax Study Group
  • International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA), Tax Commission Member and Conference Organizing Committee Co-Chair (2016)
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow (2016-Present)
  • American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Leadership Advisory Board (2016-Present), Co-Director of Committees and Liaisons (2015-2016), Senior Cabinet (2015-2016), Fellows of the Young Lawyers Division (2016-Present)
  • South Carolina Bar, Board of Governors (2012-2013, 2014-2015)
  • South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division, Co-Chair of Tax Law Committee (2014-2015), President (2013-2014)
  • Richland County Bar Association
  • Leadership South Carolina, Class of 2011
  • Leadership Columbia, Class of 2008, Committee Member (2010-2011)
  • Leadership Columbia Alumni Association, Advisory Board (2011-Present), Chairman (2013-2014)
  • Special Olympics South Carolina, Board of Directors (2010-2015, 2016-Present)
Presentations and Publications
  • "Ten Frequently Overlooked Issues with FILOT Agreements in South Carolina," SCEDA Membership Meeting, February 16, 2017
  • "Property Tax and the Impact on Job Creation," Leadership Columbia Economic Development Day, January 10, 2017
  • "Tax Incentive Issues for Local Government Leaders (Panelist)," Northeastern Strategic Alliance Economic Developers Retreat, December 9, 2016
  • "South Carolina's Notoriously High Property Taxes and What You and Your Clients Can Do to Reduce Them," HSB 2016 Corporate Law for Accountants Seminars
  • "Cross-Border Management of Wealthy Investors (US Panelist), AIJA International Tax Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, March 11, 2016
  • "Opportunities and Obstacles for Business in the Midlands," Panelist for Leadership Columbia Economic Development Day, January 12, 2016
  • "New Reporting Requirements for Local Governments Under GASB 77," Florence, SC, November 10, 2015; Sumter, SC, March 1, 2016; Columbia, SC, May 9, 2016; Greenville, SC, June 13, 2016
  • “Income Tax for Professional Athletes – A Cross Border Story (US Panelist),” AIJA Annual Congress, London, United Kingdom, September 2, 2015
  • "Tax Considerations in Choice of Entity Decisions," American Bar Association Webinar, May 19, 2015
  • "Venture Capital and Creating Ecosystems for Manufacturing Start-Ups" (Panelist), South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo, Greenville, SC, April 14, 2015
  • "How Governments Protect Tax Revenues by Closing Down Tax Structuring Opportunities and Combating Tax Evasion" (US Panelist), AIJA International Tax Conference, Italy, March 6, 2015
  • "Key Tax Credits and Incentives for Economic Development," South Carolina Bar Convention, Columbia, SC, January 23, 2015
  • "Recruiting Tools for Transforming the Business Landscape in the Midlands," Leadership Columbia Economic Development Day, January 13, 2015

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