An accomplished legal strategist with multifaceted experience, strong analytical skills, and an impressive track record in high-stakes situations, Ms. Johnson’s practice focuses on the representation of management in labor and employment matters.
Ms. Johnson has a 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 a 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.
BLJohnsonLaw PLLC 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.
Barbara L. Johnson, Esq.
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. She has extensive experience in counseling clients on the full gamut of employment law issues, including gender parity issues.
She assists clients in evaluating and analyzing their exposure to pay equity claims by working with labor economists to identify the disparities and, then, by working with clients to determine appropriate remediation strategies.
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 school systems), 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 an arbitrator. She is a member of the AAA panel of arbitrators.
Potter & Murdock, LLC (Counsel, July 2016 to present)
Ms. Johnson serves as Counsel to the firm and continues her specialization in the representation of management in labor and employment matters.
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.
Marshall-Wythe School of Law
College of William and Mary Williamsburg, Virginia J.D.
Hampton University Hampton, Virginia B.S. Pre-Med concentration in Chemistry
Admissions and Certifications
United States Supreme Court Bar
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
State Bar of Texas Association
Texas College of the State Bar
Michigan Bar Association
Houston Bar Association
National Employment Law Council (President)
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
Litigation Counsel of America
Member, Board of Visitors
College of William & Mary School of Law,
Chairman of the Board of Governors
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Member, Counselors Council
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Prior Speaking Events
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 authored papers and delivered more than fifty public speeches, including:
Open for Business: Developing a Welcoming and Compliant Workplace for LGBTQ ABA Law Section Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. September 2019
Direct Examinations ABA Labor & Employment Section Trial Institute, Faculty and Coach, Chicago, Illinois. September 2019.
Direct Examinations (Chapter), Trial Techniques for the Labor and Employment Practitioner ABA Labor & Employment Section Contributor. 2019.
Hot Topics in Employment Law and Marijuana and the Workplace ALI-CLE Current Developments in Employment Law, Faculty, Santa Fe, New Mexico. July 2019.
Employee Well-Being: What Can and Can't Employers Ask? ABA Commission on Disability Rights, Webinar. October 2019.
BYOD: Creating Policies That Will Not Leave a Hangover DC Bar, Changing Currents in Labor & Employment Law, Washington, DC. October 2019.
Recent Developments in Employment Law, 2018 ed.” – Barbara Johnson (editor), Anat Maytal, Andy Knauss, et al. – ABA Business Law Section
“Direct Examinations in Employment Cases” (book chapter for Trial Techniques For The Labor And Employment Law Practitioner) – Barbara Johnson, Sandra Pullman, and Andy Knauss
Drugs in the Workplace” –ALI-CLE Current Developments in Employment Law, 2018 Annual Conference
“Workplace Harassment & Discrimination: How to Stay Out of Tomorrow’s Headlines
“FMLA and ADA – The Advanced Class” - NAMWOLF Labor & Employment PAC
“The Evolving Practice of Law: Delivery of Legal Services, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, and Cybersecurity” -- William & Mary Law School African American Alumni Reunion – Williamsburg, VA
“‘Ban the Box’ and Increasing Regulation of Background Checks” –ALI-CLE Current Developments in Employment Law, 2017 Annual Conference – Santa Fe, NM
“Criminal Background Checks, Credit Checks & Workplace Drug Testing” –ALI-CLE Current Developments in Employment Law, 2017 Annual Conference – Santa Fe, NM
“Damages in Employment Law Cases” –2017 Annual Conference – Santa Fe, NM
“Marijuana in the Workplace” – ALI-CLE Current Developments in Employment Law, 2017 Annual Conference – Santa Fe, NM
“National Trends in Employment Law” – Federal Bar Association, Utah Chapter – St. George, UT
“Investigation Techniques: Legal Requirements of Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigations
New Employment Laws & Rules Coming to Your Workplace: City Halls & State Capitols Flex Their Muscles. ALI-CLE
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
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