• BLJohnsonLaw is an employment law boutique focused on the representation of management in a wide variety of employment matters, including day-to-day advice and counsel, litigation and trials, employment discrimination and wage and hour claims, investigations, regulatory compliance, mediations and arbitrations. Ms. Johnson has over 30 years of experience in assisting employers of all sizes in developing innovative approaches to address their workplace challenges.

  • Founder

    BLJohnsonLaw PLLC

    Barbara L. Johnson

    An accomplished legal strategist with multifaceted experience, strong analytical skills, and an impressive track record in high-stakes situations, Ms. Johnson has launched a new firm to continue her practice focused on the representation of management in labor and employment matters. Ms. Johnson has substantial experience in helping clients translate complex legal issues into practical business-minded solutions and drive legal strategies aligned with business objectives. A career as law firm partner, in-house counsel, trial lawyer, and leader within the profession provides the experience necessary to assist clients in addressing the challenges of an increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment.

  • Professional Experience

    BLJohnsonLaw PLLC (Founder, January 2016 to present)


    After fourteen years as an employment law partner in a leading global law firm and providing legal services to many of the Fortune Global 500 companies, Ms. Johnson left the firm in December 2015 to establish BLJohnsonLaw. With her new firm, Ms. Johnson continues her specialization in the representation of management in labor and employment matters. Her practice encompasses litigation in a number of areas, including civil rights discrimination claims in federal and state court, class and collective actions, whistleblower/retaliation claims, wage and hour claims, public law (municipalities and schools), breach of contract claims, ERISA claims, and employment arbitrations. Ms. Johnson has tried more than 30 employment law cases.


    She also represents employers before state and federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, state Human Rights agencies, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Justice. Ms. Johnson routinely assists employers with workplace investigations, regulatory and compliance matters, implementing diversity and leadership programs, and day-to-day employment law issues. In addition, Ms. Johnson is available to serve as a mediator or a arbitrator.

    Paul Hastings, LLP (Partner, 2002-2015)


    While with Paul Hastings, Ms. Johnson handled employment matters across the country, from wage and hour collective actions to single plaintiff discrimination cases. For five years, Ms. Johnson served as national counsel for GlaxoSmithKline in five class/collective actions with billions of dollars at stake. Ms. Johnson served as a relationship partner to the client, offering high-level legal and business advice. In that capacity she developed and implemented the legal strategy that resulted in summary at the District Court level, and that won again in the Ninth Circuit Court. The case then was appealed to the US Supreme Court, which upheld the previous rulings.

    In 2008, a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court returned an $11.4M verdict against Kaiser Permanente in a whistleblower case. The plaintiff's attorney had earned a reputation for winning large settlements. With so much at stake, Kaiser asked Ms. Johnson to retry the case. Within just a few weeks, she learned the facts of the case, gained the confidence of senior management, prepared dozens of witnesses for trial, and delivered a successful outcome—a verdict in Kaiser's favor and the plaintiff's agreement not to pursue an appeal.

    Ms. Johnson was active in firm management and served as Chair of Paul Hastings’ Pro Bono and Community Involvement Committee, Chair of the Recruiting Committee for the DC office, and a member of the Global Diversity Committee.

    Barclays Bank (2012 and 2015)


    Ms. Johnson was seconded to Barclays Bank in New York, where she served as the director and head of Employment, Incentives & Pensions Legal (Americas). In this role she was responsible for providing labor and employment advice related to Barclays 11,000 employees in the Americas, supervising a team of five attorneys and participating on the global Employment, Incentives & Pensions Legal senior leadership team.

    Wickliff & Hall, PC (Associate, 1990-1993; Shareholder, 1993-2001)


    Before joining Paul Hastings, Ms. Johnson was a shareholder in Wickliff & Hall, a Texas-based, minority- owned law firm, where she was a member of the firm's management committee. Ms. Johnson earned her certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Labor and Employment Law in 1996. While working with Wickliff & Hall, Ms. Johnson successfully tried a number of lawsuits in state and federal court, and was responsible for the successful resolution of many other cases through summary judgment or mediation. In addition, Ms. Johnson briefed and argued a number of cases before state and federal Courts of Appeals.

    The Dow Chemical Company (1976-1990)


    Ms. Johnson began her professional career at Dow as an analytical chemist responsible for developing methodologies for extracting minute quantities of pesticide residues from various materials. She also worked as an instrument engineer and developed the techniques used to install instrumentation, such as early versions of gas spectrometers and liquid chromatographs, into chemical processes. After law school, Ms. Johnson managed complex nationwide product liability litigation involving a product used in the construction industry. She was a member of a three-person legal department responsible for all legal matters at Dow's Texas operations, a site with more than 6,000 employees. While with Dow's Texas Operations, she advised the business on legal issues related to procurement, contracts, and real estate. She was responsible for advising the business on compliance with state and federal regulations affecting health, safety, environmental protection, and manufacturing. She litigated cases before the Texas Public Utility Commission arising out of Dow's extensive cogeneration activities. Ms. Johnson developed specialized expertise in labor and employment matters and was responsible for collective bargaining and negotiations with five labor unions, managing employment litigation, and resolving internal and external claims of discrimination.

  • Qualifications



    Marshall-Wythe School of Law

    College of William and Mary
    Williamsburg, Virginia
    J.D. 1984


    Hampton University
    Hampton, Virginia
    B.S. Pre-Med concentration in Chemistry 1975

    Admissions and Certifications

    • District of Columbia Bar
    • State Bar of Texas
    • State Bar of Michigan
    • District Court for the District of Columbia
    • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
    • Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas
    • Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Labor and Employment Law

    Honors and Recognitions

    • American Bar Association's College of Labor & Employment Lawyers
    • International Who's Who of Business Lawyers
    • Washington DC Super Lawyers

    Professional Associations

    • State Bar of Texas Association
    • Texas College of the State Bar
    • Michigan Bar Association
    • Houston Bar Association
    • National Employment Law Council (Chair)
    • The American Bar Association (Chair of the Employment Law Committee of the Business Law Section)
    • National Bar Association
    • International Association of Defense Counsel
    • Defense Research Institute
  • Community Involvement




    William and Mary Law School



    Chairman of the Board of Governors

    The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies


    Former Representative
    (Executive Committee)

    Council for Court Excellence

  • Public Speaking

    Ms. Johnson is a frequent speaker at seminars sponsored by the American Bar Association, ALI-ABA, The State Bar of Texas, the University of Texas, The National Employment Law Council, Organization Resources Counselors, The National Employment Law Institute and the Council on Education in Management. She also has prepared supervisor training materials, and frequently provides training in virtually all aspect of employment law and human resources management. Ms. Johnson is on the faculty of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and has published a chapter regarding workplace drug testing in the organization's treatise. She has delivered more than fifty public speeches, including:


    • New Employment Laws & Rules Coming to Your Workplace: City Halls & State Capitols Flex Their Muscles.
    • Attorney's Fees in Employment Litigation
      National Employment Law Institute
    • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
      ALI-ABA Course of Study, Current Developments in Employment Law
    • Federal Law Practice
      Old Dominion Bar Association
    • The Texas Whistleblower Act
      South Texas College of Law Symposium for Lawyers and School Administrators
    • Juries - Deliberated Conclusions or Consultant's Guarantee
      National Employment Law Council
    • Effectively Responding to State and Federal Agencies
      Counsel of Education in Management
    • Pitfalls of E-Mail - Electronic Communications in the Workplace
      Substance Abuse Program Administrators
    • Controlling Costs and Running Your Business-Managing the Cross-Over of Workers Comp, FMLA and ADA
      Counsel of Education in Management
    • The Unstable Employee: How to Balance Your Legal, Ethical and Co-Worker Obligations With Confidence
      Counsel of Education in Management
    • Arbitration and Other Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms
      ALI-ABA Course of Study, Current Developments in Employment Law
    • Technology in the Courtroom
      National Employment Law Council
    • How to Deal With a Disabled Plaintiff
    • Out of Joint: How the Growing Disconnect Between Federal and State Marijuana Laws Impacts Employers
    • Auer Deference Significantly Curtailed in Supreme Court's Ruling That Pharmaceutical Sales
    • Lawmakers Defending Password-Protected Employee Accounts: Employers Need to Proceed Smartly
    • Ninth Circuit Finding in Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Case is a Coup for Big Pharma ​​
  • Scheduled Events


    NELC Annual Conference

    Denver, CO, April 26-28, 2017

    "Recreational Marijuana in the Workplace" presentation, 2:00-3:30 pm, April 27, 2017


    The Consortium of Title IX and Equity Officers in Higher Education

    Spring 2017 Conference: From Prevention to Best Practices

    Austin, TX, May 8-9, 2017


    Federal Bar Association Utah Chapter

    10th Annual Southern Utah Federal Law Symposium

    St. George, Utah, May 10-13, 2017

    "National Trends in Employment Law" presentation, 10:30-11:15 am, May 12, 2017


    24th Annual ALI-CLE Current Developments in Employment Law - 2017

    Santa Fe, NM, July 27-29, 2017

    "Dealing with Implicit Bias in the Workplace" presentation, 11:30 am, July 27, 2017

    "Damages in Employment Law Cases" video webcast, 8:00 am, July 28, 2017

    "Hot Topics in Employment Law" video webcast, 8:00 am, July 29, 2017


  • Contact

    1300 I Street, NW
    Suite 400E
    Washington, DC 20005
    Phone: (202) 749-8322




  • Directions