Valerie A. Johnson, Partner Johnson & Groninger
Leadership is in Valerie Johnson’s DNA.
A partner at Johnson & Groninger, she is president of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and in 2021, received the organization’s Charles L. Becton Award for Teaching.
Johnson is also a Fellow of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers and the author of North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law: A Practical Guide to Success at Every Stage of a Claim.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in education and her law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating with honors.
Growing up: grew up in Henderson, N.C. As a preacher’s kid, I spent a lot of time in church. When I was 4, I was assigned to recite a story in a children’s program. Instead of the Bible story I had learned, I told an original tale about a spider and a fly. I can still hear the laughter.
Practice area: I am board certified in workers’ compensation law. Growing up, I knew people who were seriously injured at the local factories. I saw how devastating those losses were to the victims and to their families. I practice workers’ compensation and personal injury law because of the difference my work can make in the lives of individuals who have been injured or wronged.
Biggest personal accomplishment: Being elected as the president of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice in 2022 has been the greatest achievement of my career. After having been a part of the organization for 27 years, I am honored to serve NCAJ as it begins its next 60 years.
Biggest career challenge: Juggling the demands of a law practice and those of my family. I have the best husband, and my children, now 27 and 19, are wonderful people who survived having a lawyer for a mom.
Advice for aspiring attorneys: If you are interested in helping people navigate a course through a confusing legal landscape, you could find great satisfaction in a legal career. Lawyers are often tasked with helping people through the most challenging time of their lives, so being comfortable as a problem solver is key.
Work-life balance: Accept that balance is relative and not absolute. Sometimes the scales tip toward work, as they do with trial work and deadlines, and sometimes they tip toward personal and family, with babies and family caregiving. The key is to ask for help, set a few non-negotiables, and be flexible when you can.
Childhood goal: I wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and a scientist. My mother taught chemistry and biology and was surprised about my ultimate decision to be a lawyer.
Favorite vacation spot: I am partial to Spain.
A month off: I would take a class in art or history, preferably in a great destination.
You didn’t know: I love all kinds of art and often visit museums and galleries. I have always loved to read, and writing is an important outlet for me.