Young Professional 2018: Jeff Johnson
Jeff R. Johnson, Attorney, partner at Johnson & Johnson Law Firm
Education: University of Oregon School of Law, J.D.; Washington State University (Pullman), bachelor’s in business administration
Hometown: Palm Springs of Washington, Yakima
How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? Nine years
Do you have family? My wife Andi and I have two children, ages 4 and 6
Briefly describe your company: Johnson & Johnson Law represents individuals injured by the fault of others and those facing DUI criminal charges. Established in 1999, we have offices in Yakima, Sunnyside and here in the Tri-Cities. Our attorneys are Richard Johnson (Founder), Alex Johnson, and Jeff Johnson. We pride ourselves in providing exceptional legal and customer service.
How long have you worked there? Five years
What word best describes you? Analytical
Your biggest flaw? Defensiveness
Biggest pet peeve? People not using their blinkers while driving
Dream vacation? New Zealand
Favorite book? “1984” by George Orwell (currently more relevant than ever)
Favorite movie? “The Big Lebowski”
Favorite musician? Modest Mouse
Favorite sports team? WSU Cougars
Favorite website? Seattle Times, Tri-City Herald
Favorite Tri-City restaurant? Fresh Out the Box
Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? Wine tasting and running along the river, but not at the same time.
What thing would people be most surprised to learn about you? I enjoy distance running. I have completed five marathons and many half marathons.
If you could have dinner with one person (living or deceased) who would it be? George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
Describe your job: I’m a lawyer. My practice focuses on representing people that sustained significant injuries caused by the fault of another. This would include motor vehicle collision, premise liability, and medical malpractice claims. My dad, Richard Johnson, is a longtime attorney in Yakima. My brother, Alex Johnson, is also a lawyer here in in the Tri-Cities. I got into the legal field partly from growing up watching my dad work cases and partly due to finding legal classes in college interesting.
Mentors: I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors over the years. A professor in law school was instrumental in changing the way I approach problems and set me on the path to learn how to think like a lawyer. A former boss taught me how to keep a level head when facing aggravating circumstances. And, my dad has been my mentor thoughtout my life. He was my Little League and Grid Kids football coach when I was young and now helps me sort through issues as an attorney.
Toughest career decision: I moved to the Tri-Cities right after law school when I accepted a position as an assistant attorney general for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. The toughest career decision I’ve had to make is leaving the AGO for private practice. I really enjoyed working for the state. It provided me with excellent experience in litigating claims, and I got to work with exceptional people. I made the decision to leave the AGO shortly after my daughter came along. I had the opportunity to start working with my dad and brother, which enabled my wife to stay home and care for our daughter. It’s been challenging to leave stable government employment for volatile private practice. However, in the long run, it’s proven to be a great decision.
What do you like most/least about your job? My job is awesome. I get to help people every day. I get to assist people through a difficult and stressful patch in their lives and, in the end, obtain results they could not obtain on their own. My job allows me to use my knowledge, skills and experience to contest the actions of large insurance companies, corporations, and, sometimes, the government. I’ve always had a bit of a rebel streak to my personality. My job aligns with my passions, interests and morality very well.
What I like least about my job is the ambiguity and stress. I cannot make my clients any guarantees regarding the outcome of handling their claims. The client has to accept the risks, known and unknown, of, for instance, rejecting a settlement offer and trying the case within the court system. I fully understand that my client is trusting me to obtain the best result possible regarding a significant matter to their lives. I take that reasonability seriously.
First job: My first job was working for a gas station. I worked the full service gas pumps, car wash, cash register and any other odd job the boss wanted done. I learned very fast that I didn’t want to do that job for very long. Thereafter, my grades in high school improved, and I started to get serious about going to college. I learned the importance of obtaining an education that enabled me to obtain the job I wanted.
Achieving work-life balance: That’s a constant struggle. I try to run/exercise frequently, play the guitar, spend time every day with my family and try to leave work at work.
Community involvement: I am a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities Class 22. For our class project, we expanded the stables for TROT (Therapeutic Riding of Tri-Cities). TROT is a center which promotes the physical, psychological and social well-being of persons with disabilities through their interaction with a therapeutic team of horses, instructors, therapists and volunteers.
From 2013-16, I served as the Southeast Region’s representative on the Washington State Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Committee. I’ve also been a member of the Tri-Cities Rotaract Club and Young Professionals of Tri-Cities. I’ve previously volunteered as a presenter at the Pasco High School Career Day, a judge for the Pasco School District Enterprise Week and a judge for the YMCA Mock Trial Competition.
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