Barbara L. Johnson: Partner with Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Washington, DC

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					PARTNER PROFILE                                                                                    1. 800.973.1177

                              Barbara L. Johnson: Partner with Paul, Hastings, Janofsky
                              & Walker, Washington, DC
                              [By Kenneth Davis]
                              Employment litigator Barbara Johnson had already established a solid career before going into law. She worked as an
                              analytical chemist and instrument engineer for The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, MI, for five years prior to
                              becoming an attorney. She said two attorney friends piqued her interest in law while she was working at Dow.

“At the time, I knew that I didn’t want to          She explained why she left Wickliff & Hall to     In addition to her employment law cases,
continue doing what I was doing as an               join Paul Hastings:                               Johnson has litigated ERISA, Sarbanes-Oxley,
instrument engineer,” she said. “And I                                                                premises liability, toxic tort, environmental
needed some kind of an advanced degree,             “I saw it as an opportunity to join just a        racism, and business tort cases.
and I was looking at an advanced technical          wonderful employment law department that
degree or M.B.A. I hadn’t really thought            handles phenomenal cases, has tremendous          She is also chair of Paul Hastings’ Global Pro
about law school until I met Jim and Anita          resources, and an incredible variety of clients   Bono and Community Involvement Committee,
Jenkins, and they said, ‘Well, you should           with whom we do work,” she said. “And             a member of the firm’s Diversity Policy and
think about law school.’”                           also to join a real full-service law firm with    Practices Committee, and on the Partnership
                                                    lots of opportunities to get to know amazing      Evaluation Committee.
Johnson took her friends’ advice and                attorneys who work on very different types
enrolled at William & Mary Marshall-Wythe           of matters, whether it be international           Johnson discussed what she enjoys most
School of Law in Williamsburg, VA; she              arbitrations or major corporate transactions.”    about her job:
earned her law degree in 984. Right after
that, she began working as in-house counsel         In her practice at Paul Hastings, Johnson         “I particularly enjoy litigation and the
for Dow, and in 985, she transferred to one        represents employers in various                   opportunity to learn to tell a story about a
of its Texas facilities, where she said she         discrimination matters, wage and hour             particular situation,” she said. “Since becoming
initially worked on “pretty much anything           matters, and issues centering on benefits.        a litigator, I have learned that an important
that came through the door.” Then she               She said her practice has changed from            aspect of successful litigation is the ability to
began to primarily counsel the company’s            being comprised of more of a single-              tell stories. And I mean that in a positive way,
human resources department.                         plaintiff caseload to one that involves more      in that companies, like individuals, have stories,
                                                    complicated complex litigation, collective        and I think to be successful you’ve got to be
Johnson eventually chose to leave Dow and           actions, and multiple-plaintiff class actions.    able to tell the company’s stories through the
join a minority-owned firm-Wickliff & Hall-         Additionally, Johnson regularly tries cases       company’s witnesses.”
in 990.                                            involving issues of race, age, gender, and
                                                    disability discrimination, retaliation, breach    Johnson said she “loves” to speak to law
“I always knew that I wanted to try cases since     of contract, and various employment torts         students. She has spoken to students at
from the time that I had been in law school         in both state and federal courts. She also        Georgetown University Law Center and
and recognized that that was not going to be        provides employment law advice to her             William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of
an option with Dow, which is why I ended up         clients.                                          Law, as well as to a number of BLSA (Black
leaving and joining a law firm,” she explained.                                                       Law Students Association) groups.
                                                    “Recognizing that so few cases actually go to
Johnson handled employment litigation at the        trial, it’s also very important to help clients   “BLSA is a very popular organization on
Houston-based firm and became a partner in          develop strategies for avoiding litigation to     virtually every law school campus,” she
993. She left the firm in 2002 to join Paul,       assure that they are in compliance with the       said. “Also, BLSA has regional and national
Hastings, Janofsky & Walker as a partner in         myriad of laws that affect them,” she said.       meetings involving students of color from a lot
its Washington, DC, office.                                                                           of different law schools.”

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PARTNER PROFILE                                                                               1. 800.973.1177

Johnson said she speaks to law students         “Marty [Wickliff] taught me about the value       Johnson said that she has many hobbies
about the profession and the opportunities      of really just hard work and the reality that     and interests, including cooking, genealogy,
they will have as attorneys. She also           this is a very demanding and challenging          community involvement, and fitness.
talks to students about how to do well          profession,” she said. “And with Marty, it
in law school, especially when it comes         was never about cutting corners and always        She discussed some of the goals she’d like
to thinking “strategically” about law           giving the clients more than they expect and      to accomplish with her practice in the next
school exams and getting ready for them.        exceeding expectations in every way.”             few years:
Johnson said that what she enjoys most
about speaking to law students is the           Johnson said one of the highlights of             “I’m looking to continue to take my practice
“ability to make a difference in terms of       her professional career was joining Paul          to the next level in terms of the clients I
someone’s future and future opportunities       Hastings, a prominent international law firm,     represent and the types of cases in which I get
and possibilities in the profession.”           as a partner.                                     involved,” she said. “And I’m looking to help
                                                                                                  in developing the next generation of leaders
She had the following advice for law            “So few people of color and so few female         for the firm…I just think that the development
students:                                       lawyers of color really have the opportunity to   of and mentoring of younger attorneys is an
                                                experience practice at this level in terms of     important obligation that I have. So those are
“Other than what I said about the importance                                                      my primary objectives.”
                                                the clients we serve and the sophistication of
of thinking about law school exams
                                                this practice,” she said.
strategically […] there’s a tremendous                                                            ON THE NET
interest right now, especially among large
                                                Johnson was born and raised in Hampton, VA.
law firms, in attracting minority lawyers,”                                                       Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker
she said. “And so my advice is to look                                                  
                                                “I’m the product of very hardworking parents
deeper in terms of the organization that’s
                                                and a very loving family environment, where
wooing them and to really understand what                                                         William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law
                                                I was nurtured by not only my parents but my
the possibilities are there for advancement                                             
                                                aunts and uncles and the whole community,”
and what kinds of culture and environment
                                                she said.
they’re going to get into.”                                                                       The Dow Chemical Company
                                                Johnson is married to a management
Johnson said the two people who influenced
                                                consultant with his own firm. She has three
her the most in her formative years as a
                                                stepchildren, one of whom is majoring in
lawyer were attorneys Anthony Sadberry
                                                education at the University of Houston.
and A. Martin Wickliff, Jr., both of whom she
worked with at Wickliff & Hall.


Description: Article About The Profile Of Barbara L Johnson An Employment Litigator, Analytical Chemist And Instrument Engineer Partner With Paul, Hastings, Janofsky And Walker, Washington, DC And About Law School, Employment Litigation, Employment Law Department, Employment Law Cases.
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