Robert J. Johnston

Robert J. Johnston


ROBERT J. JOHNSTON is a firm shareholder and a member of the firm’s commercial group. Robert’s practice concentrates on public finance and New Mexico tax law, including corporate income tax, gross receipts tax, and property tax. Robert also represents clients in liquor licensing and general business and corporate matters.

In his public finance practice, Robert provides advice on taxable and tax-exempt financings for public, private, and government clients and contractors. He also advises companies on local economic development incentives, including industrial revenue bonds.

In his tax practice, Robert advises taxpayers in all aspects of New Mexico tax law. He assists taxpayers in responding to assessments and audits by the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, and he represents taxpayers in refund claims, administrative tax protest proceedings before the New Mexico Administrative Hearings Office, and tax litigation and appeals.


  • New Mexico, 2016
  • Arizona, 2017
  • United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, 2016


  • University of New Mexico Law School, 2016, J.D., Law
  • Eastern New Mexico University, 2013, B.S., Political Science, History, magna cum laude

Publications & Speeches

  • Electronic Signatures and Negotiating Vendor Contracts” April 14, 2022. Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico Strategic IT/Operations Conference. Co-presented with Isaac A. Leon, Sutin, Thayer & Browne
  • Council on State Taxation (COST) Fifty State Tax Developments Summary Update, New Mexico, co-authored annually with Suzanne Wood Bruckner, Sutin, Thayer & Browne
  • Corporate Practice of Medicine: A 50 State Survey, Second Edition, New Mexico chapter (American Health Lawyers Association), 2020. Co-authored with David H. Johnson and Jesse D. Hale, both with Sutin, Thayer & Browne


  • Best Lawyers in America, Ones to Watch, Tax Law, 2021-present
  • Southwest Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2020-present
  • Dean’s Award for Significant Contribution to the Law School Community, University of New Mexico School of Law, May 2016
  • University of New Mexico School of Law Merit Award Scholarship
  • University of New Mexico School of Law Dean’s List
  • Phi Kappa Phi National Academic Honor Society
  • Eastern New Mexico University Dean’s List
  • Eastern New Mexico University Class of 2013 Outstanding Student in Political Science
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholar, 2012

Professional & Community Involvement

  • National Association of Bond Lawyers, 2018-present
  • Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys and Consultants, 2022-present
  • New Mexico Chamber of Commerce – Tax Policy Committee, 2018-present
  • State Bar of New Mexico, Tax Law Section – Board of Directors, 2021-present
  • Attorney Coach, Albuquerque High School Mock Trial Team, 2018-present
  • New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association
  • State Bar of New Mexico, Young Lawyers Division – Law Student Mentorship Program
  • American Bar Association

Representative Experience

  • Represented various taxpayers in protests related to the High Wage Jobs Tax Credit before the Administrative Hearings Office.
  • Assisted in the representation of multinational oil and gas exploration company in gross receipts tax protest before the Administrative Hearings Office.
  • Represented an educational institution before the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in response to Title IX complaint.
  • Assisted in the representation of an educational institution’s management in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Represented multistate franchisee in franchise dispute with multinational franchisor.
  • Represented an association of commercial land owners in a land use dispute regarding restrictive covenants as applied to a purchaser’s proposed use of commercial property.
  • Represented various businesses in a variety of employment and contract disputes, including allegations of retaliatory discharge, invasion of privacy, and wage theft.
  • Second-chaired the defense of oil exploration and production company in a wrongful death jury trial in which the plaintiffs sought $120 million in compensatory damages, in addition to punitive damages. Obtained a defense verdict based on proximate causation.
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