Thomas L. Johnson

Tom Johnson practices in the areas of internal investigations, regulatory and legislative affairs, and environmental and land use law. He represents a variety of public and private clients in matters involving local, state, and federal government activities. Tom was the Hennepin County Attorney from 1979-1991 and served on the Minneapolis City Council from 1973-1977.

He lectures frequently on legislative, regulatory, investigative, and environmental issues and has published numerous articles for both legal and business audiences. He has provided counsel in many high-profile matters, including investigations of higher education institutions and the environmental review of the Minnesota Gopher football stadium and Minnesota Twins’ baseball stadium. He regularly assists developer and landowner clients in land use issues, particularly relating to environmental remediation, project financing, and development agreements.

Tom has been an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School. He has also served on the board of directors for many state and national organizations and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Quality Award, the President’s Award from the National District Attorney’s Association, the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Professional Excellence Award, and the Attorney Professionalism Award from the Hennepin County Bar Association. Most recently, he was awarded the Attorney of the Year/Circle of Excellence Award from Minnesota Lawyer.

Professional Strengths

Tom brings three strengths to his client representation. First, he has a vast knowledge of litigation and investigative strategies, public policy issues, and political solutions gained from his 16 years in public office, including 12 years as the elected prosecutor for Hennepin County. Second, Tom has a creative, problem-solving mind that often allows him to quickly find solutions to legal problems at less cost to his clients. Finally, Tom is widely respected for his professionalism and personal integrity.

Court Memberships

  • Minnesota


  • Attorney of the Year/Circle of Excellence Award, Minnesota Lawyer, 2019
  • Customer Service Award, Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, 2019
  • Community Leadership Award, Hennepin County Attorney, 2015
  • Attorney Professionalism Award, Hennepin County Bar Association, 2015
  • “North Star Lawyers,” Minnesota State Bar Association, 2012, 2014-2018
  • CornerHouse Sweetheart for Kids Award, 2009
  • Outstanding Service to the Profession, Minnesota Lawyer, 2008
  • Council on Crime and Justice Equal Justice Award, 2008
  • Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL) Profiles in Courage Award, 2008
  • Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Quality Award
  • The President’s Award from the National District Attorney’s Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association’s Professional Excellence Award

Professional Affiliations

  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Volunteer Lawyers Network, benefactors board member
  • Minnesota Justice Research Center, founder, board member, and past chair
  • Bench and Bar Committee, HCBA, former chair and committee member
  • Environmental Law Committee, HCBA, former chair and committee member

Community Involvement

  • Klobuchar for Minnesota 2018 LLC, President and board member, 2012 to present
  • Volunteer Ombudsperson for Clerical Sexual Abuse within the St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese, 2017 to present
  • University of Minnesota Institutional Conflict Review Panel, member
  • Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership, past board member and chair
  • Project Innocence, founder and past board member
  • WATCH, past advisory board member
  • Council on Crime and Justice, past president
  • Advisory Committee for Minnesota U.S. Attorney, past member
  • Minnesota Federal District Court Judicial Selection Committee, past member
  • Illusion Theater, past board member
  • CornerHouse, founder, past board member and chair
  • Advocates for Human Rights, founder, past board member and chair
  • Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association, member
  • Advisor to numerous political candidates and campaigns at the local, state, and federal level


  • Governmental Benefit Plans Seminar & Webinar, March 7, 2013
  • “Responding to Government Investigations: A Practical Anatomy,” panelist, GPM White Collar Roundtable, October 30, 2012
  • “The Penn State Debacle—Lessons Learned From (not so) Happy Valley,” GPM Higher Education Breakfast Briefing, February 14, 2012
  • “Legal Developments in Environmental Review and Permitting,” Minnesota Chapter, American Planners Association Annual Conference, September 28, 2011
  • “I-35W Bridge Collapse: GPM’s Special Investigation for the Minnesota Legislature,” GPM Forum, July 17, 2011
  • “Minnesota State Government Shutdown 2011– Legal Issues and Remedies,” GPM 15th Annual Health Law Conference, July 1, 2011
  • Government Investigations: The Tricks, Traps, and Technicalities, April 14, 2011
  • “Minnesota False Claims Act,” The Minnesota County Attorneys Association Webinar, July 28, 2010
  • 14th Annual Health Law Conference Edit, July 15, 2010
  • “Letter from St. Paul– 2010 Health Care Legislation,” GPM 14th Annual Health Law Conference, July 1, 2010
  • “Current Legal Aspects of Green,” 3rd Annual Minnesota Build Green Conference, March 26, 2010
  • “Minnesota False Claims Act,” GPM Health Care Fraud Roundtable, March 17, 2010
  • “Angel Investor Tax Credit Legislation in Minnesota,” Wisconsin Angel Network, 
    January 28, 2010
  • “Minnesota False Claims Act,” GPM Health Law Forum, July 16, 2009
  • “Transportation in the 21st Century, The I-35W Bridge Collapse, Its Causes and Lessons,” International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) Mid-Year Seminar, April 20, 2009
  • “A ‘Big Picture’ Perspective on Health Care Developments,” Health and Human Services Legislation Roundtable, February 5, 2009
  • “Land Use and Sustainability,” Minnesota Business Journal CLE, September 5, 2008 
Photo of Thomas L. Johnson
  • Minneapolis

    80 South Eighth Street
    500 IDS Center
    Minneapolis, MN 55402
F: 612.632.4207


Wendy Rode



London School of Economics, LL.M., with distinction, 1992

University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 1970

University of Minnesota, with honors, 1967, Bachelor of Physics