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EarlJohnsonJr

Justice Earl Johnson, Jr. served as a Justice on the California Court of Appeal for a quarter century, retiring in 2007 for the express purpose of researching and writing a history of civil aid in the United States, a 3-volume set Praeger published in November 2014 under the title ‘To establish Justice for All: The Past and Future of Civil Legal Aid in the United States (Santa Barbara and Oxford: Praeger, 2014).
Johnson earned his B.A. with Honors in Economics from Northwestern University, his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School where he was book review editor of the UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW REVIEW, and his L.L.M. in Criminal Law from Northwestern University School of Law. Johnson started his legal career as a federal prosecutor in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, but shifted to the legal services field when he became Deputy Director of Washington’s Neighborhood Legal Services Project (now Program) in 1964.  He served as the Director of the War on Poverty’s OEO Legal Services Program from 1966-68, then as a Professor of Law at the University of Southern California where he also directed the Program on Dispute Resolution Policy at USC’s Social Science Research Institute and was a visiting scholar at the University of Florence’s Comparative Law Center. He co-drafted the first version of the Legal Services Corporation legislation which, after many changes and the hard work of others, eventually passed as the Legal Services Corporation Act in 1974. Johnson’s research resulted in several books and a dozen articles on the subject of civil legal aid and access to justice, including authoring Justice and Reform: The Formative Years of The OEO Services Program (New York: Russell Sage, 1974/New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1978), “Access to Justice” article in Elsevier’s International Encyclopedia of the Behavioral and Social Sciences and co-authoring Toward Equal Justice: A Comparative Study of Legal Aid In Modern Societies (Milan and Dobbs Ferry: Giuffre/Oceana, 1975, 1981).
After his appointment to the bench in 1982, Johnson published several more articles on legal aid and chaired the state bar’s “Access to Justice Working Group” which led to creation of the California Commission on Access to Justice in 1997. Founding chair of National Equal Justice Library at Georgetown Law School which collects and preserves the history of legal aid in criminal and civil cases and is  celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Earl Johnson is the former chair and board member of the California Access to Justice Commission which also is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Member, steering committee of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel. He now chairs the Implementation Committee overseeing the Sargent Shriver Counsel pilot projects for the California Judicial Council.
Johnson lives in Channel Islands Beach, California, is married to Barbara Yanow Johnson, a former legal services lawyer and Chief Assistant Attorney General, and has three children and two grandchildren.