Presiding Judge Barbara Johnson

Clark County Superior Court

Clark County Presiding Judge Barbara Johnson loves her job and is proud to have served as a judge for over 22 years. Given her strong qualifications and warm personality, litigants in her court are very fortunate to have her on the bench.

Judge Johnson was raised in Walla Walla, Washington. Her mother worked as a legal secretary and her father worked as an attorney. After high school, she attended the University of Washington and received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. After graduation, she entered the University of Washington School of Law and received her JD in 1975.

Judge Johnson began her legal career as a deputy prosecuting attorney for King County. Her fellow prosecuting attorneys included former governor Gary Locke, and US District Court Judges Marsha Pechman, Robert Lasnik and Richard Jones. Four years later, she moved to Vancouver, Washington and entered private practice. She was in private practice for six years before she considered serving as a judge. She received encouragement from her peers to pursue an open seat on the bench and was appointed by Governor Booth Gardner in 1987. She was the first female judge in the history of Clark County Superior Court.

During her years on the bench she has earned a reputation for being intelligent, fair and well-prepared. In addition to managing court administrative issues, she manages her own trial docket. She enjoys the subject matter variety her trial docket provides.

Off the bench, she has served on the Task Force on Courthouse Security that published Courthouse Public Safety Standards. She has served on the faculty of the Washington State Judicial College, on the Washington State Law and Justice Advisory Council, and the Governor's Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. She is a member and has served as vice-president of the Simpson Inn of the American Inns of Court in Vancouver. In 2006, the Washington State Trial Lawyers named her Judge of the Year.

Judge Johnson is a member of the Vancouver Rotary and has served on many volunteer boards and commissions, including the Clark College Foundation, Clark County Child Abuse Council and the Clark County Boundary Review Board. She has served as vice president and trustee of the Clark County Bar Association and as president of the State Board of Directors of Washington Women Lawyers.

She is married to a retired journalist and enjoys gardening, reading, hiking and other physical fitness activities.

Originally authored by Shawn Lillegren and printed in the December 2009 Multnomah Lawyer
Updated for the Internet in 2010