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Carlton L. Johnson

Mr. Johnson focuses his practice on commercial and complex litigation matters. He represents a wide range of clients, including individuals, commercial businesses, non-profit organizations, and government and public entities in state and federal courts, in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Mr. Johnson represents clients in a variety of matters, including, but not limited to, civil rights, labor and employment, real estate, government affairs, insurance matters, criminal matters, business torts, contractual disputes, professional negligence actions, as well as personal injury and property loss matters. He handles all aspects of litigation, from pleadings through appeals.

One of the areas of focus in Mr. Johnson’s practice is on minority and women-owned businesses. Along with litigation matters, Mr. Johnson provides general business counseling and assistance to minority and women-owned companies. Mr. Johnson is an active member of Archer’s Diversity Committee, and along with other Committee members, works to carry out the firm’s vision to grow diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, as well as to implement firm policies and procedures, and foster programs to promote diversity throughout the firm.

Mr. Johnson represents and counsels a number of clients, including real estate development companies, with regard to Government Affairs, with a focus on real estate matters. He advises clients regarding licenses and inspections, real estate acquisitions and development, zoning, real estate tax matters, real estate title issues and disputes, as well as litigation matters related to real estate. Mr. Johnson works with clients to best accomplish their objectives, and to provide his assistance navigating the landscape surrounding the various city and state agencies.

In the heavily regulated and growing cannabis industry, Mr. Johnson provides counseling and assistance to businesses engaged in matters relating to the cannabis sector. Areas in which Mr. Johnson works with clients include real estate, licensing and regulatory compliance, lobbying, financing and banking, taxation, administrative law, and business services. He assists many types of businesses, including cultivators, manufacturers, transporters, distributors, researchers, testing labs, and retailers.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Johnson served as the Chief Deputy City Solicitor of the Civil Rights Unit for the City of Philadelphia. In his position, Mr. Johnson managed the defense of civil rights cases brought against the City of Philadelphia and provided risk management advice to client departments and officials to minimize future litigation and losses. Mr. Johnson also managed court supervised agreements to resolve decades-long structural and operational challenges that exposed the government to potentially significant financial liability. During his tenure with the Law Department, Mr. Johnson handled all of the litigation matters arising out of the Republican National Convention (RNC 2000). He also represented the City in general liability and tax matters and provided advice and counsel to several City Solicitors to help resolve organizational challenges within the Law Department itself.

Representative Experience

City of Philadelphia Litigation:

  • The 39th District Police Litigation (class action alleging systemic police corruption)
  • The Baby Neal Litigation (a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of abused and neglected children against the City of Philadelphia, the Courts and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
  • The Pennhurst Consent Decree (class action alleging mistreatment of institutionalized mentally ill)
  • The Jackson and Harris Prison Consent Decrees (state and federal consent decrees concerning the conditions of confinement of inmates within the Philadelphia Prison System)
  • The NAACP, ACLU, Police-Barrio Relations Project Settlement Agreement (class-action civil rights lawsuit alleging that the City of Philadelphia had condoned the systemic practice by its police officers of violating the rights of citizens of Philadelphia in general, and particularly those of minorities)
  • National Republican Convention 2000 Litigation (First Amendment rights of protestors)
  • Rosen et al v. City of Philadelphia (diabetics in custody)
  • The Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons in various litigation matters involving Section 1983 issues and the Federal Torts Claims Act
  • The City of Philadelphia in numerous matters including in a Class Action “Stop and Frisk” law suit

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Advisor and Mentor, Black Law Student Association, Temple University School of Law
  • Medical Marijuana and Hemp Committee, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Chair, Hemp Subcommittee, Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Executive Board and First Vice President, Temple University School of Law Alumni Association
  • Board of Directors, Nominations Committee, Community Legal Services
  • President’s Advisory Board, The Barristers, Philadelphia Chapter
  • Minority Bar Committee, Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • International Municipal Lawyers Association
  • Public Policy Committee, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Business Law Section, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Marion Anderson Monarchs Parent Advisory Committee
  • Pennsylvania State University Alumni Association
  • Women In Tech, Philadelphia Chapter
  • Advisory Board, Million Women Mentors
  • Advisory Board, NorthStar Conference
  • Advisory Board, Opera Company Philadelphia
  • Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education Board, Pennsylvania State University
  • Black Alumni Association, Pennsylvania State University
  • Advisory Board, Temple University Center for Inclusive Competitiveness
  • Board of Directors, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
  • The Pennsylvania Society
  • Course Planner, PBI’s Medical Marijuana & Hemp Law Symposium
  • Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Homeland Security and Law Enforcement and Justice Advisory Committees
  • Board of Governors, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Co-Chair, Parents Association, William Penn Charter School Lower School
  • Co-Chair, Public Policy Committee, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Nutter for Mayor Police, Personnel, Prison and Law Department Transition Teams
  • Co-Chair, Annual 5K, Community Legal Services
  • Executive Board Member and First Vice President, Habitat for Humanity
  • Girl Scouts of America, Take the Lead Campaign (2012-16)
  • Police Advisory Oversight Board

Awards and Recognition

  • Community Legal Service Equal Justice Award (2018)
  • Temple University Black Law Students Distinguished Service Award (2018)
  • “Super Lawyer,” Philadelphia Magazine, Government Relations (2013-2018)
  • Temple Law Alumni Association Service Award (2013)
  •  Philadelphia Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award  2012
  • Cecil B. Moore Community Service Award, Temple Law School (2011)
  • “Super Lawyer,” Pennsylvania Bar Association, Labor and Employment and Government Relations (2010)
  • Len Barrack Distinguished Alumni Award, Temple Law Alumni Association 100th Anniversary

Articles and Presentations


Archer Prevails in Bi-State Regulations Case

In Federal Court Lawsuit Alleging False Arrest of Armed Private Security Guard, Recent Holding Finds Material Facts Preclude Application of Qualified Immunity

Carlton Johnson to Speak at PBA's 31st Minority Attorney Conference