James M. Johnson    PARTNER   Phone: (404) 228-4822 Direct Line: (404) 719-4039  Fax: (404) 228-4821    jjohnson@knightjohnson.com   One Midtown Plaza 1360 Peachtree Street, Suite 1201 Atlanta, Georgia 30309



Phone: (404) 228-4822
Fax: (404) 228-4821  

Atlanta Office:

One Midtown Plaza
1360 Peachtree Street, Suite 1201
Atlanta, Georgia 30309

Los Angeles Office:

100 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 940
Santa Monica, CA 90401


  • J.D.,UCLA School of Law (2003) 

Managing Editor, UCLA Entertainment Law Review

  • B.B.A., summa cum laude, First Honor Graduate, University of Georgia (2000)
Voted  Super Lawyers and Atlanta Magazine:'s  Rising Stars in Business Litigation and  Georgia's "Legal Elite" in Business Litigation by Georgia Trends   Magazine -  2011, 2012, and 2013.

Voted Super Lawyers and Atlanta Magazine:'s Rising Stars in Business Litigation and Georgia's "Legal Elite" in Business Litigation by Georgia Trends Magazine - 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 2015, and 2016.

Businesses, business owners, and corporate officers face complex and unique legal challenges every single day—and those challenges usually arise with little or no warning. James Johnson is an experienced trial attorney and litigator who lives to attack these challenges head-on. Because he represents clients in a wide variety of industries—and because he is genuinely interested in how law works—James has developed significant expertise in a broad range of litigation subject matter areas, including:

Contract Litigation

  • Obtained dismissal of federal court claims against international military contracting company
  • Successfully represented emergency room staffing company in contract dispute with regional hospital group; hospital group’s damage counterclaims were dismissed via pre-trial motions in limine
  • Successfully represented medical education company seeking to recover significant contract damages against international medical school 
  • Successfully represented owner of apartment complex in contract dispute with developers who agreed to purchase apartments but who refused to close sale
  • Successfully represented national steel door and building components manufacturer in litigation arising from failed merger with competitor
  • Routinely represent plaintiffs and defendants in payment disputes in federal and state courts

Business Tort and Fraud Litigation

  • Successfully defended President and CEO of nationally-recognized real estate company from allegations of fraud and fraudulent asset transfers; plaintiff dismissed all claims with prejudice after the first day of jury trial
  • Won multi-week jury trial for commercial tenant in case against landlord and business partner; jury awarded attorneys’ fees and punitive damages in addition to substantial compensatory damages
  • Successfully defended owner of health care business from charges of fraud and misrepresentation; case settled favorably while court considered mid-trial motion for directed verdict 
  • Successfully defended general counsel of technology company accused of participating in fraudulent investment scheme
  • Successfully represented owner of telecommunication business and his family members from allegations of fraud and fraudulent asset transfers
  • Defended prominent Atlanta developer and family members from allegations of fraud, mismanagement, and breaches of fiduciary duties brought by former partners and investors
  • Obtained dismissal of fraud, battery, and other tort claims against client in high-profile lawsuit brought against Atlanta-based fertility cryoservices provider 

Securities Litigation

  • Served as lead defense counsel for diversified business group accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of perpetrating a $70 million Ponzi scheme
  • Routinely resolve insider trading and other securities fraud charges brought against corporate owners and officers
  • Represent wide range of businesses—from Fortune 500 companies to small start-ups—in wide variety of disputes, including contract and payment disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, and business divorces

Bank Litigation

  • Obtained summary judgment for defendant facing a $30,000,000 claim from an international bank
  • Won a trial verdict for apartment developer in week-long jury trial against regional bank for breach of construction loan and successfully protected verdict on appeal
  • Won a trial verdict for CEO of nationally-recognized company in multi-day jury trial against national bank for breach of a construction loan
  • Prevailed in numerous foreclosure confirmation actions brought by lenders against developer and real estate investor clients, preventing lenders from pursuing significant deficiency judgments against those clients
  • Represent real estate developers and investors in collection actions brought by national banks, the FDIC, and debt purchasers such as Rialto Capital Management

Construction and Real Estate Litigation

  • Successfully represented national developer in litigation involving the design and construction of the largest mixed-use marina resort development in the southeastern United States
  • Represented the owner/developer of the Atlantic Station mixed-use project in Atlanta, Georgia in construction claims and litigation relating to the project
  • Represent wide variety of developers, general contractors, subcontractors, regional homebuilders, and real estate investors in litigation involving construction / design defects, delay claims, and payment disputes
  • Regularly draft and negotiate design and construction contracts for developers, general contractors and design firms

Government Investigations

  • Represent witnesses and subjects in pre-indictment federal white-collar criminal investigations
  • Represent witnesses, subjects, and targets of Securities and Exchange Commission pre-suit investigations and parallel federal criminal proceedings

First Amendment / Defamation Litigation

  • Successfully defended attorney accused of defamation by regional homebuilder for expressing concerns about homebuilder’s construction practices to government officials
  • Successfully resolved claims brought by medical group after defeating medical group’s attempt to strike client’s defenses and counterclaims under California’s strict anti-SLAPP statute
  • Routinely defeat non-meritorious defamation claims asserted by parties attempting to create personal liability for corporate officers and owners in business disputes

Bid Protests and Administrative Agency Litigation

  • Successfully represented international technology company in high-stakes bid protest litigation and obtained judicial affirmation of $391 million contract awarded to client for new Medicaid Management Information System

James is the rare litigator who actually relishes the opportunity to try business disputes before a jury. While he is a strong writer and negotiator, James believes his skills in the courtroom are his very best attribute as an attorney. James is routinely praised by trial judges and jurors for his attention to detail, his ability to remain calm and collected under pressure, and his skillfulness in explaining complicated legal concepts and intricate fact patterns in a way that is both informative and entertaining. More than a few jurors have told James that they made up their minds after watching his surgical (and often humorous) cross-examinations of recalcitrant witnesses. James and his paralegals are skilled in using modern courtroom technology and multiple forms of media to keep jurors entertained and interested—and sympathetic to his clients—during the course of trial. 

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 cases involving unique legal 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 a BBA in banking and finance from the University of Georgia, where he was a First Honor Graduate (overall 4.0 GPA). He received his law degree from UCLA. He lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife and daughter, but also spends a significant amount of time in Southern California.