Gary Lawson


Direct: (469) 399-0332

Mobile: (469) 964-8500

Dallas Office


Gary Lawson

Practice Areas:

  • Commercial Transactions
  • Benefits & Exec Comp
  • Employment
  • General Corporate
  • Government

Bar Admissions:

  • Texas
  • New York


  • New York University School of Law (LL.M. Tax), JD, 1974
  • St. John’s University School of Law
  • Queens College, City University of New York, Assoc. Arts, 1970

Large Law Firm Experience:

  • Partner in Strasburger & Price LLP
  • Partner in Godwin, Bowman & Martinez P.C.
  • Partner in Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Gary Lawson, a pension, executive compensation and transactional lawyer regularly represents government pension systems and other governmental entities in matters involving governmental law (including open meeting and public information matters), and pension and tax law.

Gary also provides counsel to private and public entities in transactional, executive compensation, pension and employment law matters.

He is the author of numerous articles and one of his articles was cited in the United States Court of Appeals decision of Morse v. Stanley, 732 F.2d 1139 (2nd Cir. 1984).

Gary is a frequent speaker before such groups as the State Bar of Texas TEXPERS, the National League of Cities, Guns & Hoses and others. Additionally, he has served as an expert witness before the U.S. Congress and the Louisiana Legislature on pension and health matters as well as in several legal malpractice cases. He successfully prosecuted to settlement a legal malpractice case against an out of state law firm involving a Texas based ESOP.

After co-founding the Dallas Bar Association section on Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Gary went on to become that group’s chairman and was selected to be the first chairman of the IRS Key District EP/EO Oversight Liaison Council, consisting of some 18 attorneys and actuaries representing the ten states in the then Dallas Key District.

In the world of nonprofits Gary’s contributions are unparalleled. He has served for more than 8 years on the International Advisory Board of Medisend International, which he co-founded, and was a co-founder and board member of both FIRST in TEXAS and Capt. Hope’s Kids. Having devoted much of his free time after 9/11 to helping veterans and their families around the nation, serving on the boards of and as Chairman of both Snowball Express and the Independence Corps, Gary recently joined the Board of the Boys and Girls Club Of Collin County in 2016. In 2014 in recognition of more than a decade of service to our military and their families, Gary was inducted by order of the Secretary of the Army into the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the famed “Nightstalkers”.

Representative Transactions Include

  • Represented the owner of a $12M electronics manufacturer in the strategic sale of his business
  • Represented an automobile parts manufacturer in its technology licensing of parts manufacturing to Chinese manufacturers with protection against their wrongful importation of counterfeit parts into the United States
  • Represented the owner of a trademark in its successful prosecution of an infringement claim and the subsequent entry of a favorable licensing agreement to settle the lawsuit
    Represented tax exempt governmental entities in the last 10 years in over 40 investment transactions with aggregate investments by all investors totaling in excess of $2.33B
  • Represented the purchaser of a major sports franchise in obtaining the first PBGC Bonding Exemption
  • Represented a government pension fund in the successful defense of a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, U.S. Court of Appeals 5th with Certiorari denied (favoring the client) at the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Represented a governmental pension fund in a successful prosecution leading to settlement of a claim for the liquidation/redemption of its interest in a profitable beverage franchise
  • Provided counsel to a State Auditor and State Legislature concerning the constitutionality of proposed legislative amendments to six statewide pension systems
  • Provided counsel to consumer products clients with regard to marketing compliance with Federal Trade Commission and consumer product labeling requirements
  • Developed human resource policy manuals for food service and medical service companies
  • Negotiated resolution of Department of Labor investigation of employee leasing company’s tax qualified savings plan
  • Handled over 196 open records/public information act requests, approximately 85 of which were submitted to the Texas Attorney General for letter opinions, and only 9 of which were further submitted for declaratory judgment proceedings in District Court. Only 6 of the 85 submissions were denied in their entirety.

Presentations & Teaching Experience

  • The Affordable Care Act after King v. Burwell, Tax Symposium (September 2015)
  • From the Statehouse to the Courthouse, Texas County and District Retirement System Annual Conference (July 2014)
  • Constitutional & Other Challenges: Limitations on Plan Cutbacks, National Association of State Retirement Administrators (March 2014)
  • SAFE Retirement Act, TEXPERS (March 2014)
  • From the Statehouse to the Courthouse, Constitutional and Other Restraints on Plan Changes, National Association of State Retirement Administrators (August 2013)
  • Louisiana Association of Public Employees’ Retirement Systems Constitutional Issues – Impact on Plan Changes (September 2012)
  • The Fadeout or the Future of the Defined Benefit Plan, ERS Retirement Forum (November 2011)
  • The Rhyme and Reason of Public Pension Plans: What Can and Can’t Be Changed in Texas, TEXPERS Summer Educational Conference (August 2011)
  • The Rhyme and Reason of Public Pension Plans: What Can and Can’t Be Changed in Texas, Dallas Bar Association-Government Lawyers Section (June 2011)
  • Compensation & Benefits: New Products or Techniques or Newly Announced IRS Interest Areas, Tax Symposium (August 2008)
  • Other Post Retirement Employee Benefits and GASB 45, Texas Pension Review Board (2007)
  • Fiduciary Responsibility and Government Accounting Standards Board 45 & Funding Options for Other Post-Employment Benefits, TEXPERS 18th Annual Conference (March 2007)
  • Current Trends in Disability Policies, TEXPERS Summer Educational Forum (August 2005)
  • Fiduciary Responsibility, National Society of Pension Professionals (2004)
  • The Why and How About Lobbying by Pension Systems, Institute for International Research, Guns and Hoses (October 2004)
  • Adding a DROP Feature to Your Pension Plan, Institute for International Research, Guns and Hoses (October 2003)
  • Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, Public Pension Funds and Securities Litigation, Office of the Firefighters Pension Commission Annual Conference (2003)
  • The Significance of Fiduciary Duties, Institute for International Research, Guns and Hoses (2003)
  • Fiduciary Duties – Crossing the “T’s” and Dotting the “I’s,” Twelfth Annual TEXPERS Conference (2001)
  • Challenges of a Changing Workforce: What Can Happen When Human Resource Decisions Are Made Without Considering the Law? Answer — Trouble With a Capital ”T”!, National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (2001)
  • Americans With Disabilities Act and Service and Disability Retirement Plans, Institute for International Research Public Pension Plans Conference (2001)
  • Americans With Disabilities Act: Specific Issues Impacting Public Pension Funds, Institute for International Research Public Pension Plans Conference (2000)
  • Ethics: Where Does it Come From? Do Pensions in Texas Really Need Ethical Rules?, Baylor University, Institute for Pension Funds (1999)
  • Americans With Disabilities Act: Specific Issues Impacting Public Pension Funds, Institute for International Research Public Pension Plans Conference (1999)
  • Developing & Implementing a DROP Plan to Enhance Your Defined Benefit Plan, Institute for International Research (1998)
  • The Elements of Sound Due Diligence, TEXPERS Ninth Annual Conference (1998)
  • Litigation Hazards in Employee Healthcare Plans, Law Education Institute, Inc. and The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc (1997)
  • Ethics and Record Keeping – Do’s and Don’t’s, TEXPERS Summer Educational Forum (1997)
  • Litigation Hazards in Employee Healthcare Plans, Law Education Institute, Inc. and The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (1997)
  • Pension Plan Design, National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (1996)
  • Health Care Litigation Hazards, BNA & Georgetown University Law School (1996)
  • Fiduciary Responsibility, Law Education Institute (1996)
  • Deferred Retirement Option Program, Fire and Police Pension Funds Forum, Guns and Hoses (1995)
  • Pension Plan Design, National Association of Police Organizations Annual Pension Conference (1995)
  • Social Security Coverage for Government Employees, Firefighters Pension Workshop (1991)
  • Economic Development – Using the Tools You’ve Got: Pension Funds, Public Deposits, Real Property Assets, National League of Cities (1990)
  • They Can’t Fix It All From There, Dallas Business Group on Health (1990)
  • Panelist. Recent Rulings and Regulations, Society of Actuaries (1990)
  • Taxation and Other Federal Issues Affecting Your Public Pension, Texas Association of Public Retirement Systems (1990)
  • Employer Obligations to Extend Insurance Coverage to Employees: COBRA and Benefit Plan Discrimination Rules After Section 89’s Repeal, California Law Institute (1990)
  • Late Breaking Developments in Tax and Deferred Retirement Plans, Fire Fighters Pension Commission (1989)
  • Accumulation & Distribution Limits, State Bar of Texas Advanced Tax Law Seminar (1989)
  • Compensation & Employee Benefits – Legislative Update, American Management Association (1989)
  • Managing Hardship Withdrawals/Safe Harbor, Employee Benefit Plan Review (May 1989)
  • Golden Parachutes, Golden Handcuffs and Rabbi Trusts, The Chief Executive (December 1988)
  • Post-Retirement Health Benefits and the Courts, Pension World (January 1988)
  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Restructuring Transactions Forum, Arthur Andersen & Co (1987)
  • Employee Pension Benefit Changes in the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, Dallas Chapter, (1987)
  • Employer Liability for Post-Retirement Health and Life Insurance and COBRA Update, Dallas Pension Society (1987)
  • COBRA, the Health Care Crisis, Dallas Business Group on Health (1986)
  • Reagan’s Tax Report – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, American Electronics Association (1985)
  • Reagan’s Tax Reform, National Association of Accountants (1985)
  • Employee Benefits After the tax Reform Act of 1985/1986 – Will There Be Anything Left?, Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants Dallas Chapter (1985)
  • Key Executive Benefit Alternatives. Southwest Regional Association Small Business Investment Companies (1985)
  • Loans, Hardship Distribution Withdrawals – Taxation of Distributions and Plan Design, American Academy of Actuaries (1981)


  • Write your ERISA Summary Plan Description to Inform – and to Win, Employment Law Blog (September 2015)
  • Texas Supreme Court Determines Private Entities that Contract with Government are Not Subject to the Texas Public Information Act, Governmental Law Newsletter (July 2015)
  • How The Change In Marriage Laws Could Impact Employers And Benefits, American City Business Journals (July 2015)
  • Texas Supreme Court Allows Private Party To Challenge Release of Sensitive Information, Governmental Law Newsletter (June 2015)
  • Texas’ Call to Arms: Pending Open Carry Law Puts Property Owners on High Alert, Real Estate Newsletter (June 2015)
  • Absolute Immunity from Defamation When Cooperating with Government Investigations? Maybe ‒ Maybe Not, Blog (May 2015)
  • Closed Sessions Under the Texas Open Meetings Law, Governmental Newsletter (March 2015)
  • Can Select Former Employees Be Barred from Competition Even Without an Enforceable Non-Compete Agreement? Noncompete Blog (October 2014)
  • Privacy In A Public Office? How the PIA Addresses Texts, Tweets & Posts, Governmental Newsletter (June 2013)
  • Co-author. IRS and Treasury Give Back Significant Ground on Governmental Plans Normal Retirement Age Definition, Governmental Newsletter (June 2012)
  • Co-author. Code § 414(d) Advance notice of Proposed Rulemaking Raises Many Issues for Governmental Pension Plans, Governmental Newsletter (April 2012)
  • Co-author. The Defined Benefit Plan (A-Plan), Allied Pilots Association (2005)
  • Co-author. Lessons to be Learned from Enron’s 401k Meltdown, Professional Liability Underwriting Society Journal (April 2002)
  • Contributing Author. Legal Eagle bimonthly column. Institute for Investment Management Consultants (1994-1996)
  • The Accounting Standards Board Proposal and the Demise of the Defined Benefit Pension Plan, The Pension Actuary (March 1984)
  • Incentive Stock Options: An Area of Change and Opportunity, Taxation for Lawyers (July 1983)
  • Forfeiture-for-Cause ‘Bad Boy’ Clauses; Is There Any Life Left After ERISA? – Confusion in the Arena, TAXES (November 1982)
  • A Lure for Talented Employees, Incentive Stock Options, National Underwriter (September 1982)
  • New Payroll Credit ESOP, Taxation for Lawyers (January 1982)