C.J. Johnson is a second-generation trial lawyer. He received a degree in history from the University of Colorado and graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in 1999. C.J. then clerked for U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard F. Cebull in Great Falls before joining a high-energy Missoula defense trial practice in 2000. In 2018, C.J. left that practice to focus exclusively on plaintiff’s civil litigation and trial work.
More than half of C.J.’s career was spent as panel-approved insurance defense counsel in cases involving catastrophic personal injuries, medical malpractice, products liability, specialty-lines insurance coverage, and complex real estate defect and disclosure issues. He always carved space for a handful of plaintiff’s cases, and that portion of his practice grew over fifteen years to completely supplant defense work. Since 2018, he's exclusively represented plaintiffs.
C.J. has extensive trial experience and is one of the few attorneys to win jury trials from both sides of the aisle. He has taken, attended, and defended approximately one thousand depositions and is regularly engaged to mediate cases on behalf of other attorneys. C.J.'s trial practice is limited to claims involving medical malpractice, catastrophic personal injuries, insurance bad faith, and real estate defect and disclosure claims. Years spent handling these cases from both sides means that C.J. knows how to build and litigate compelling cases that anticipate what capable defense lawyers are likely to do.
C.J. is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated attorney and a Mountain States Super Lawyer (2013 through 2022). He has previously worked by appointment as a Special Prosecutor for the Montana Office of Disciplinary Counsel, is a group instructor for the Trial Advocacy Class at the School of Law, coached the School of Law Negotiations Team, and has guest-lectured at the School of Law on legal writing, civil procedure, voir dire, opening statements, conflicts of law, and trial experts. C.J. is a member of the Montana Bar Association, Western Montana Bar Association, and Montana Trial Lawyers’ Association. He is admitted to practice in all Montana state and federal courts, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has handled numerous appeals to the Montana Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
C.J. is married and has three uber-awesome kids.