William E. Mason, IV, Esq.
William E. (Bill) Mason, IV values his clients and the relationships he has built with them while practicing tax law for over forty years. He takes care to listen to all sides in the variety of complex legal matters and accurately understanding his clients, their partners, and their adversaries, he is able to construct a broad view of the issue and provide insight and give legal advice. Sometimes this includes thinking out of the box or through novel or non-obvious paths. Bill puts his clients first, objectively looking to the future and helping his clients address issues long before they become a problem. Because of this careful and measured guidance, his clients have trusted him to represent them in three seemingly contradictory practice areas: Technology Transfer, Economic Development, and Employee Benefits.
Bill often says those areas may seem like a mismatch to a tax lawyer, but these areas overlap in many areas, such as tax-exempt entities and the formation of trusts, and involve many related legal issues. He loves that the different practice areas keep him intellectually challenged, one of the things that he credits for keeping the practice of law exciting.
Bill, working alongside the Firm's IP attorney Zack R. Gardner, Esq., provides legal services addressing a plethora of intellectual property instances and issues. This includes licenses and options, material transfer agreements, inter-institutional agreements, non-disclosure agreements, technology demonstration project agreements and management, operating and grant agreements, and research funding and agreements.
One area Bill has spent a significant time working with clients in is the technology production and testing of new medicines and medical devices. He has written numerous clinical trial agreements between hospitals, universities, clinics, and clinical research organizations (CRO) and pharmaceutical and device manufacturers.
One of the most important aspects of Bill's Technology Transfer practice is demonstrating the ability to bring together partnerships of public and private entities.
Cityview Magazine has recognized Bill as a Top Attorney of Knoxville in the practice area of Intellectual Property/Trademarks in 2020.
Often happening hand-in-hand with his Technology Transfer work, Bill finds himself assisting his clients with economic development on both the local and national scale for the technology they're producing. He assists with the organization, maintenance, reorganization, and liquidation of business entities, corporations, and partnerships arising out of technology transactions. Additionally, he works on the organization and application to the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax exempt determinations related to technology transfer.
He has extensive experience in demonstration of energy technology including solar energy, conservation, and switch grass cellulosic biorefining of ethanol.
One intrinsic part of Bill's practice is to provide legal advice and assistance with all things employee benefits, pension, and ERISA Law alongside fellow attorneys Kathy D. Aslinger, Esq. and Ashley N. Trotto, Esq.. This includes the design, documentation, administration, audit, litigation, termination and qualification of all employee health and welfare and pension plans for both public and private employers and retirement boards consisting of management and employee representatives. He counsels with Plan fiduciaries on ERISA and state law obligations, 401(k), Cafeteria (125), ESOPs, Profit-Sharing, Defined Benefit Pension, 403(b) (tax sheltered annuity), nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) (including 457 and 409A), supplemental executive retirement (SERP), stock options and stock appreciation rights, health, life insurance, disability insurance, auto leasing, and day care assistance plans. The Firm sponsors various volume submitter or prototype retirement plans.
Bill represents clients before various agencies involved in employee benefit regulation, including the IRS and its Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, Department of Labor, and PBGC.
U.S. News & World Report has named Bill in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice areas of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and Litigation - ERISA every year since 2009, including 2023.
Cityview Magazine has recognized Bill as a Top Attorney of Knoxville in the practice area of Employee Benefits/ERISA - Defense in 2014-2018 and 2020-2022.
As an off-shoot of Bill's ERISA practice, he alsohas experience in the area of Employment Law dealing with COBRA, Immigration and Naturalization Service compliance, EEO compliance planning, Davis Bacon and Service Contract Acts, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compliance and audit, employee handbooks, employee terminations, layoffs, and disciplinary action, and all aspects of the employer-employee relationship. He represents clients on open government, public records and sunshine meeting laws.
In 2022, CityView Magazine recognized Bill as a Top Attorney in Knoxville for Labor & Employment Law - Employer.
However, equally important to Bill is his volunteer interests. Bill serves on the Board of Directors for the Legacy Park Foundation and works with the YMCA to create and maintain better parks and greenways for the Knoxville Area. He believes education is one of the most important gifts we can give to future generations and works with the Education Subcommittee for the United Way of Greater Knoxville to further that belief. He also takes the time to read to the kindergarteners of Christenberry Elementary four times a school year alongside the Firm's book project. He is involved in local residential care for the medically indigent, acting as counsel for now and previously serving as the past Chair of the Hillcrest Healthcare Board of Directors.
Bill practices for select clients in the areas of Business and Corporate Law, Local Government and Public Utilities, Taxation, and Churches, Nonprofit, and Tax-Exempt Organizations.
In 2021, Cityview Magazine recognized Bill in the areas of Business/Commercial Law, Corporate Law, and Taxation (also in 2022) as well.
Bill was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in 1974. He is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) and the American Bar Association (ABA).
Bill was admitted to the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee in 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004, and the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee in 2010.
Bill Mason has practiced law for more than 40 years. He worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority from 1974-1986, Wagner Myers & Sanger PC, from 1986-1988, and William E. Mason PC, from 1988-2009. He joined Kennerly Montgomery in 2009. He is a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, 1993, and Fellow, by examination, 1994 and 1995. He is a frequent speaker at regional professional meetings and writes on pension and employee benefits topics. In 2016, Bill was appointed by the US Treasury Department to a three-year term as the IRS Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) representative for Tennessee.
Bill graduated from Harvard Law School in 1974. Prior to that, he received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois in 1970.