Seasoned trial lawyer Charles S. Johnson brings his expertise in the areas of health law, higher education law, dispute resolution and public policy to Tuskegee University as its new vice president for external affairs and general counsel.
In this capacity, Johnson serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet and provides legal advice and related services to the university leadership. In addition, he represents the university in collaboration with the Office of Advancement and Development in matters relating to legislative and governmental relations.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Mr. Johnson’s caliber guiding the university’s legal affairs,” says President Lily D. McNair. “His professional acumen will benefit us in a wide range of matters governing university operations, academics, fiscal affairs and external partnerships.”
His legal career spanning nearly 50 years has included leadership positions in several Atlanta-based law firms — the most recent of those being Holland & Knight, where he served partner for a decade. Following his graduation from Boston College Law School, he began his legal career as an antitrust lawyer, which included serving as a principal Georgia antitrust counsel for a major automobile manufacturer and as coordinating antitrust counsel for a national insurance rating organization.
Eventually, his litigation practice expanded to include matters involving health policy, education policy, tax law, employment law, securities, civil RICO and qui tam law, eminent domain, zoning, and commercial disputes. He currently serves as a member of the Commercial Dispute Resolution Panel for the American Arbitration Association.
His public policy practice has included counseling, regulatory and legislative advocacy and litigation. His efforts in these areas have made it possible to vigorously enforce the federal Fair Housing Act, and they have also made it possible for the courts to consider quality of education when fashioning a remedy for school segregation.
Johnson has served in leadership capacities for a variety of professional and trade organizations. This includes chairing the ABA Committee on Insurance Regulation, the Atlanta Judicial Commission and the Board of Trustees of Leadership Atlanta. He served as president of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Gate City Bar Association, as vice president of the National Bar Association, as a member of the Board of the Atlanta Bar Association, and as a trustee for his alma mater, Bard College.
He has been named as one of Ten Outstanding Young People in Atlanta and one of the Best Lawyers in America. Atlanta Magazine has recognized him as one of Atlanta’s “Powers to Be” and one of Georgia’s Super Lawyers, and the King Center has honored him with its Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice Award. He has been inducted into the halls of fame for both the National Bar Association and the Gate City Bar Association. He also served as the most recent Board chair of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia Inc. He is a recipient of the Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement from the State Bar of Georgia Committee to Promote Inclusion in the Profession, and the Zenith Award for Political Action from the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.