C. John Wentzell

Shareholder Greenville

Johnny Wentzell practices in the areas of employee benefits law, ERISA and taxation. He represents a wide variety of organizations, including public and privately held companies across all industry sectors, state and local governmental organizations, and tax exempt organizations, such as large hospital systems. He also represents individuals with regard to executive compensation matters.

He represents clients with respect to all types of employer-sponsored employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements, such 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, defined benefit pension plans, 457(b) and 457(f) plans for both tax exempt and governmental employers, nonqualified deferred compensation plans subject to Code Section 409A, health and welfare plans, including ERISA severance plans, and equity compensation arrangements, including restricted stock and limited liability company equity grants. He also assists clients with bonus and incentive compensation programs and tax and employee benefits aspects of employment, severance and change in control agreements.

Johnny regularly assists clients in designing and drafting benefit plans, advises clients regarding the legal requirements for operating and administering plans, and prepares and submits filings to the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. He works directly with plan fiduciaries, frequently attending investment/retirement committee meetings, regarding their duties under ERISA and limitation of liability.

Johnny graduated from the University of Georgia in 2000 with a degree in Finance. He received his J.D. in 2003 from the University of South Carolina School of Law. During law school, he served as a member of the ABA Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal. In 2004, Johnny graduated from the New York University School of Law with an LL.M. in Taxation.


Johnny has assisted clients with such matters as:

  • Resolving prohibited transactions and other fiduciary issues with the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Advising clients with respect to employee benefits aspects of corporate transactions, such as mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs
  • Representing clients in IRS and U.S. Department of Labor audits
  • Benefit plan mergers and spin-offs
  • Resolving qualified plan compliance matters with the IRS, including through retroactive plan amendment
  • Designing executive compensation programs for Fortune 500 companies
  • Advising executives with respect to equity grants, including restricted limited liability company equity in a private equity portfolio company
  • Drafting municipal pension programs
  • Assisting clients establish and maintain plan fiduciary committees

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • American Bar Association (Tax Section)
  • South Carolina Bar Association (Tax Section)
  • South Carolina Bar Tax Law Council
  • Greenville County Bar Association
  • Meals on Wheels of Greenville (Board of Directors)


  • Ogletree Deakins Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Symposium - ''Top 10 Tips and Pitfalls in Designing Incentive Compensation Plans'' - Austin - March 23, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''The Top 10 Benefits Compliance Issues for 2016'' - Chicago - May 05, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Symposium - ''Deferred Compensation for Nonprofits'' - Chicago - May 04, 2016
  • 14th Annual North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia Tax Section Workshops - ''ERISA Fiduciary Best Practices'' - Kiawah - May 24, 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''401(k) Fiduciaries: Is There a Target on Your Back?'' - San Antonio - May 15, 2015
  • Southern Employee Benefits Conference - ''Fiduciary Duties of a Plan Sponsor'' - Greenville - February 24, 2015
  • South Carolina Bankers Association Human Resources Conference - ''Retirement Plan Fee Disclosures to Plan Sponsors and Participants'' - Columbia - October 23, 2012
  • South Carolina Chamber of Commerce HR Institute - ''Overview of the Legal Requirements for Employer Provided Benefits'' - 2008 - 2011
  • Certificate in Employment Relations Law Series - ''ERISA - A Review of the Basics'' - 2007 - 2016


Published Works


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