777 High Street, Suite 300

Eugene Oregon 

(541) 484-9292

Varner-J-Johns.jpgVarner 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.

Practice Areas

Publications & Presentations

Jay is a regular speaker and writer on estate planning and business topics for lawyers, accountants and life insurance professionals. He is also the author of the following:

  • “Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation” for the Oregon Society of Certified Life Underwriters
  • Oregon Law Institute - Non-Profit, Charitable & Tax Exempt Organizations Seminar on “Unrelated Business Income”
  • Oregon Society of Certified Life Underwriters: “Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving”
  • Oregon Society of CPA’s: “Estate Planning Issues in Oregon”
  • National Business Institute: “Administration of the Estate in Oregon”
  • Oregon State Bar - Fundamentals of Business Law: “Compensation Issues”
  • National Business Institute: “Funding and Operating Living Trusts”
  • Oregon State Bar, Transferring the Small Business: “Asset Sales”
  • Oregon State Bar, Administering Oregon Trusts: “Administration of Charitable Trusts in Oregon”
  • Co-Author, "Advising Oregon Businesses" Ch. 33, "Professional Corporations"



 Varner Jay Johns, III Martindale-Hubbell Review

“My clients have spent a lot of time, enormous passion and energy, building their business or estate,” says Jay, “It’s my job to help them plan for the transfer of that wealth with the least possible cost and tax loss. 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 attended Willamette University. During law school 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. Jay also is chair of the 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 43 years, Cathy, is a registered nurse, and while she is retired from nursing she, is an enthusiastic and talented 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 Practical Nurse Specialist for the Oncology Department of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and Matthew is a chemist at Thermo Fisher (formerly Molecular Probes) in Eugene, Oregon.


  • 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)