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Earl Johnson Jr. Collection

Identifier: NEJL-015

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of three series: Interviews, NEJL historical materials, and Access to Justice materials.

The interview collection consists of forty-nine interviews conducted by Johnson as part of his research for the book Justice And Reform: The Formative Years of the American Legal Services Program, first published in 1974 by the Russell Sage Foundation. Justice and Reform is the only comprehensive survey of the history of the Legal Services Program (LSP) within the Office Of Economic Opportunity (OEO). The program was created as part of President Johnson's War On Poverty and the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Earl Johnson played a major role in Legal Services' formative years, first as Deputy Director and then as Program Director. The interviews are with key individuals in the field of legal services. Most of the interviews were completed between 1968 and 1969. Justice and Reform documents the history of The Legal Services Program within The Office Of Economic Opportunity in four parts: Part I. The Roots of the legal aid movement in the United States; Part II. The Establishment Of The Program; Part III. The Management of the Program; and Part IV. An Assessment. Some of the interviews are not dated, although many dates may be ascertained via the book's end notes. Those interviews that are undated are annotated as undated. Where a date could be ascertained via the end notes to the book, those dates are written after the undated annotations. Where an interviewee's professional status is noted or could be determined, that status is indicated. Where an interview topic is noted or could be determined, the topic is indicated.


  • 1964 - 1974


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Biographical / Historical

Justice Earl Johnson Jr. was born in Watertown, South Dakota on June 10, 1933. He earned a BA in Economics from Northwestern University in 1955. Following his three years active duty as a naval officer, Johnson received a JD in 1960 from the University of Chicago where he was an editor of the Law Review. He also earned an LL.M in Criminal Law from Northwestern University in 1961.

After completing his education Johnson served as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering division, from 1961-1964. Next he was Deputy Director of a neighborhood legal services project; and between 1965 and 1968 he worked as Deputy Director and Director of the Legal Services Program within the Office of Economic Opportunity. Between 1969 and 1982 Johnson was a Professor of Law at the University of Southern California. At USC he taught Evidence and Professional Responsibility. He also directed the clinical program at the University. Since 1982 Johnson has been an Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division 7.

Throughout his career Johnson has published extensively, authoring or co-authoring as many as sixteen books. He has also been the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Justin Dart Award for Academic Innovation from the University of Southern California, the Loren Miller Legal Services Award from the California State Bar, and named Appellate Justice of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles. Johnson was the founding President of the Board of Directors of the National Equal Justice Library. He is married to Barbara Yanow Johnson, who initiated the Reggie program at the OEO; together they have three children.

In addition to Justice and Reform, Johnson published: To Establish Justice For All: The Past and Future of Civil Legal Aid in the United States. Praeger, 2013.


0.25 linear feet

Language of Materials


Finding Aid for the Earl Johnson Jr. Collection (Coll. 15)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the National Equal Justice Library Repository

Georgetown University Law Library
111 G. Street NW
Washington D.C. 20001