The University of Arizona

New UA General Counsel Named

By La Monica Everett-Haynes, University Communications | June 21, 2012

Laura Todd Johnson, who joined the UA in 2002, has been named the University's new general counsel and vice president for legal affairs.

Laura Todd Johnson has been named the UA's vice president for legal affairs and general counsel.
Laura Todd Johnson has been named the UA's vice president for legal affairs and general counsel.

Laura Todd Johnson, who has served as a University of Arizona attorney for 10 years, has been named head of the Office of the General Counsel.

Johnson will begin the position of vice president for legal affairs and general counsel on July 1, replacing Deputy General Counsel Lynne Wood, who served in the position since December 2011.

"It is an honor of immense magnitude to be able to serve this university in this new role," said Johnson, also a member of the Arizona State Bar Association and the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

"I am proud and eager to work alongside the entire leadership team of the University, led by our incoming University President, Dr. Hart," Johnson said. "I'm especially pleased to be able to continue working with the stellar group of talented professionals I call my colleagues in the Office of the General Counsel."

Johnson practices in the areas of employment, disability and higher education law and, for the last 10 years, has advised the UA president, provost and other administrators on issues related to policy development, shared governance, civil rights law and federal regulations, among other topics.

"I am thrilled that Laura Todd Johnson has agreed to serve as the University’s next general counsel,” said UA President-Designate Ann Weaver Hart.

“Laura has a long and distinguished track record at the UA, and I am confident that she will do a terrific job in this critical position," Hart also said.

Also during her time at the UA, Johnson provided training workshops to University faculty and staff.

Likewise, she also has been invited by professional higher education organizations to present on a range of topics, such as dispute resolution, discrimination and harassment, civil discourse, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. 

"In my term here as a university attorney these past 10 years, I've been able to cultivate strong working relationships with our campus partners, and I look forward to continuing the work we have ahead of us," Johnson said. "This is an exciting time for our University, and I'm thrilled to be able to serve in this new capacity."

A two-time UA alumna, Johnson earned her Juris Doctor with distinction from the UA James E. Rogers College of Law in 1988. She also earned a UA bachelor of arts degree in creative writing, also with distinction, in 1982. 

Prior to her UA appointment in 2002, Johnson was a founding partner of a Tucson law firm where she practiced in the area of employment discrimination law. 

In private practice, Johnson was the managing law partner for Johnson & Slate in Tucson, Ariz. There, she managed the law office, focusing her litigation on employment law and civil rights law, most often representing employees in either state or federal court. 

Johnson also has served as a trial attorney in Tucson, Phoenix and also Chicago. While serving as an assistant city prosecutor for the Tucson City Prosecutor's Office, she prosecuted a substantial number of cases in both bench and jury trials. 

Previously, Johnson chaired the Arizona State Bar's Employment and Labor Law Section, served on the State Bar's Committee on Persons with Disabilities in the Legal Profession, and held terms as a commissioner for the UA's Commission on the Status of Women and as vice chair of the Board for the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault. 

"The UA is fortunate to have Laura Todd Johnson stepping in to the general counsel position," said UA President Eugene G. Sander. 

"As an alumna and a longtime University attorney, she has been an integral member of the UA community for many years," Sander said. "I expect her to have tremendous success in this position." 

Johnson and her husband, Robert Buckley, have three sons, ages 21, 17 and 15 – with one being a UA student.