Attorney James Johnson
James is an experienced trial attorney representing businesses, business owners, and corporate officers in high-stakes state and federal lawsuits in Georgia and California.
James’s experience handling complex white-collar SEC disputes and guiding clients through stressful administrative and criminal investigations complements Pate, Johnson, and Church’s white-collar criminal practice. Recently, James was lead counsel for a diversified business group accused by the SEC of perpetrating a $70 million Ponzi scheme. He represents witnesses, subjects, and targets of SEC pre-suit investigations and parallel federal criminal proceedings. James recently represented a subject in a joint criminal investigation by the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission, as well as a subject of the DOJ’s investigation of corruption and bribery by City of Atlanta officials.
James also has substantial experience in defending clients from claims of fraud, breaches of fiduciary duties, and other business torts. He recently represented the president and CEO of a nationally-recognized real estate company from allegations of fraud and fraudulent asset transfers, with the plaintiff dismissing its claims with prejudice after the first day of jury trial. He also obtained summary judgment for a California defendant facing a $30 million claim from a Russian bank, and recently received significant media coverage arising from the dismissal of fraud, battery, and other tort claims against his client in a high-profile lawsuit brought against an Atlanta-based fertility cryoservices provider.
James has recently experienced great successes in the Southern District of California. Along with his colleagues at Pate, Johnson, and Church, James has been able to obtain compassionate releases for several federal inmates based on their risk of contracting COVID-19 at government prison facilities. More recently, James and his co-counsel obtained a temporary restraining order barring warrantless immigration arrests in Southern District federal courthouses.
Since 2011, James has been named a “Rising Star,” “Super Lawyer,” or “Legal Elite” among business litigators by Georgia Trend Magazine and Super Lawyers. In 2017, James was recognized as one of the top 25 Georgia lawyers under the age of 40 by the Fulton County Daily Report. He regularly handles matters involving unique legal and factual issues and interesting clients, and his cases have been discussed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Fulton County Daily Report, Atlanta Magazine, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, People Magazine, Buzzfeed, CNN, and USA Today, among others.
James received his undergraduate degree in banking and finance from the University of Georgia, where he was a First Honors Graduate (highest GPA in graduating class). He earned a scholarship to UCLA School of Law and remains a lifelong Bruin. James and his family split their time between Atlanta, Georgia and Southern California. When he is not in court, James can often be found hiking and camping in the Eastern Sierra.
James is a member of all California state and federal district courts. He is a member of all Georgia state courts, as well as federal courts in Georgia’s northern and middle districts.