Susan A. Johnston

Senior Counsel

  • JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1978
  • BA, Durant Scholar ( summa cum laude ), Wellesley College, 1975


  • New York, 2006
  • Massachusetts, 1978
  • Member, Investment Company Institute Tax Advisory Board (1988-2018)
  • Member, American Bar Association Section of Taxation, Committee on Regulated Investment Companies (Chair, 1987-89); and State Tax Committee (1987-89)
  • Member, Board of Advisors, Boston Symphony Orchestra (2018-present)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2004-2020)
  • The Legal 500 (2015)
  • The Best Lawyers in America (2006-2021)
  • Expert Guides: Women in Business Law (2012-2017)
  • Expert Guides: Tax (2015)
  • Expert Guides: Banking Finance & Transactional (2012)
  • PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook (2012)
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers (2004-2009) 

Susan A. Johnston

Senior Counsel

Over the course of more than 30 years, Susan Johnston has become one of the country’s leading legal authorities on the tax matters of regulated investment companies. In her role as senior counsel, Susan advises mutual funds and other pooled investment vehicles on an assortment of critical tax issues by drawing on her extensive experience and research.

Ropes & Gray serves as regular counsel for more than 2,000 mutual funds and their advisers, as well independent directors and trustees. Funds of all types and sizes have come to rely on Susan as their special tax counsel, elevating her into an exclusive group of prominent tax lawyers specializing in regulated investment companies. Her clients have included such marquee industry names as Allianz, AMG, Columbia, Cohen & Steers, DoubleLine, Deutsche Funds, GMO, MFS, Natixis, ProFunds, ProShares, Stone Harbor and Stone Ridge.

Susan’s work has earned her recognition from clients and peers alike. A former chair of the Regulated Investment Companies Committee of the ABA Tax Section, she has received top-tier recognition from Chambers USA, and was additionally recognized by Best Lawyers in America.

Susan served as a partner at Ropes & Gray from 1987 to 2018, and rose to lead the firm’s tax practice. She is the author of the landmark treatise Taxation of Regulated Investment Companies and Their Shareholders, originally published in 1999. A second edition was issued in December 2011.

Advising clients around the country, Susan works out of Ropes & Gray’s Boston and New York offices. She graduated from Wellesley College and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School.


  • Quoted, “Proposed Regs Would Expand RIC Controlled Group Test And Diversification Requirements,” Federal Tax Weekly (August 8, 2013)
  • Quoted, “Treasury Issues Proposed Regs Clarifying RIC Controlled Group Rules,” Tax Analysts (August 2, 2013)
  • Susan A. Johnston, "Taxation of Regulated Investment Companies and Their Shareholders," Warren, Gorham & Lamont of RIA, 2nd edition (2011)
  • JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1978
  • BA, Durant Scholar ( summa cum laude ), Wellesley College, 1975
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