President, Richard G. Johnson Co., L.P.A., 1990–Present; Overall Practice Concentrated in Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility as well as Judicial Ethics & Conduct Issues; Litigation & Trial Practice Limited to Plaintiff’s Legal & Sports Agent Malpractice and Related Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility Issues; College Athlete Rights Advocate


Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (Charter Member); Ameri-can (Center for Professional Responsibility), Ohio State, and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associations; Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys; Cleveland Law Library Association (Board of Trustees).


Ohio (1990); United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (1991); United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth (1991) and Ninth (2015) Circuits; United States Supreme Court (1994).


Life Member, Judicial Conference, Eighth Appellate Judicial District of Ohio.


  • Franklin Thomas Backus School of Law, Case Western Reserve University, J.D., awarded May 1990. CASE WESTERN RESERVE LAW REVIEW, Articles Editor, Volume 40, Associate Editor, Volume 39.
  • Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, M.B.A. awarded August 1987 (banking and finance).
  • Western Reserve College, Case Western Reserve University, B.A. awarded May 1986 (political science), Dean’s Honor List, Western Reserve Scholar.
  • Hawken School, Class of 1982.


Million Dollar Advocates Forum; Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

INSTITUTES American Law Institute:

  • Members Consultative Group: Restatement of the Law: Charitable Non-profit Organizations;
  • Members Consultative Group: Restatement of the Law: Liability Insurance;
  • Members Consultative Group: Restatement, Third, Torts: Liability for Economic Harm;
  • Members Consultative Group: Principles of the Law of Compliance, Enforcement & Risk Management;
  • Members Consultative Group: Principles of the Law of Government Ethics;
  • Members Consultative Group: Principles of the Law of Policing;
  • Members Consultative Group: Project on Sexual & Gender-based Misconduct on Campus; and
  • Members Consultative Group: Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault & Relat-ed Offenses.


  • Member, Board of Trustees of the Cleveland Law Library Association, 2017– Present.
  • Member, Executive Board, College Sports Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, 2016–Present.
  • Grand Jury Foreman, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, September 2012 Term.
  • Member, Publications Board, Center for Professional Responsibility, Ameri-can Bar Association, 1996–2009.
  • Member, Legal Ethics & Professional Conduct Committee, Ohio State Bar Association, 1991–2006:
  • Trial Co-Counsel for Relator, Ohio State Bar Ass'n v. Kanter, 86 Ohio St. 3d 554, 715 N.E.2d 1140 (1999) (one of the three Glidden kick-back cases);
  • Chairman, Subcommittee to Review the Report of the Committee to Review Ohio's Disciplinary Process ("Bell Commission Report") in Light of the ABA's McKay Report, 1996–97;
  • Chairman, Subcommittee on Lawyer Referral Services, 1992–94.
  • Member, Ethics Committee, Cuyahoga County Bar Association (Inquiry Review Subcommittee), 1991–1998.


  • Oliver v. NCAA, 2008-Ohio-7143, 155 Ohio Misc. 2d 8, 920 N.E.2d 196 (Erie Cty., Ohio Ct. Common Pleas 2008) [Oliver I]; 2008-Ohio-7144, 155 Ohio Misc. 2d 1, 920 N.E.2d 190 (Erie Cty., Ohio Ct. Common Pleas 2008) [Oliver II]; and 2009-Ohio-6587, 155 Ohio Misc. 2d 17, 920 N.E.2d 203 (Erie Cty., Ohio Ct. Common Pleas 2009) [Oliver III].
  • Jones v. Burnside, cert. denied, 549 U.S. 883, reh'g denied, 549 U.S. 1027 (2006).


  • Richard G. Johnson (with Alton L. Stephens), Reflections on Twenty Years of Legal Malpractice: A Bilateral Interview, 4:1 CLEVELAND METRO. B. ASS’N J. 34 (July/August 2011).
  • Richard G. Johnson, Submarining Due Process: How the NCAA Uses its Restitution Rule to Deprive College Athletes of their Right of Access to the Courts … Until Oliver v. NCAA, 11:4 FLA. COASTAL L. REV. 459 (Summer 2010).
  • Richard G. Johnson (with Hon. Joseph D. Russo & Jack DeSario), A Legal, Political, and Ethical Analysis of Judicial Selection in Ohio: A Proposal for Reform, 38:4 CAP. U. L. REV. 825 (Summer 2010).
  • Richard G. Johnson, Integrating Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, 37:3 LOYOLA L.A. LAW REV. 819 (Winter 2004).
  • Richard G. Johnson ed., GEORGENE M. VAIRO, RULE 11 SANCTIONS (3rd ed. 2004).
  • Richard G. Johnson, Attorneys’ Fees and D.R. 2-107 Revisited, 4:2 OHIO TRIAL 17 (Spring 1993).
  • Monthly Column in the Daily Legal News and Cleveland Reporter: Lawyers’ Forum on Professional Responsibility, 1994–95.


  • GEORGENE M. VAIRO & RICHARD G. JOHNSON, RULE 11 SANCTIONS (3rd ed. Supp. 2019), forthcoming.


  • Contributor to Sports Law Blog, June 2013– February 2019.


  • Richard G. Johnson, Letter to the Editor: Why Does Athletic Tail Wag Aca-demic Dog?, WALL ST. J., May 4, 2018, at A-14.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Letter to the Editor: What Does “Fixing” the NCAA” Real-ly Mean?, WALL ST. J., Mar. 24, 2018, at A-16.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Letter to the Editor: The ALI Hasn’t Been “Captured” by Anybody, WALL ST. J., July 7, 2017, at A-14.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Letter to the Editor: Missouri Football Players Are Lag-ging, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, Nov. 20, 2015, at E-3.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Opinion: When a Loss Is Really a Win, and the Future of the NCAA, SPORTS BUS. J., Sept. 1, 2014, at 39.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Opinion: Call to Action: Time for Congress to Govern College Sports, SPORTS BUS. J., May. 5, 2014, at 21.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Letter to the Editor: Paying the Few Elite College Footballers Is a Fumble, WALL ST. J., Feb. 6, 2014, at A-16.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Letter to the Editor: No Sense in Pricing College Teams, WALL ST. J., Jan. 16, 2014, at A-14.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Letter to the Editor: Top Amateur College Athletes Real-ly Are Professionals, WALL ST. J., Jan. 13, 2012, at A-12.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Opinion: Solution to NCAA: Legislate Free Market into College Sports, SPORTS BUS. J., Sept. 19, 2011, at 29.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Letter to the Editor: Congress Should Rein in the NCAA, WALL ST. J., Apr. 26, 2011, at A-16.
  • Richard G. Johnson, Opinion: Slaves on the NCAA’s Plantation?: No Due Pro-cess for 360,000 Student-Athletes, LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, Mar. 1, 2010, at A-9.


Featured or quoted in the Atlantic Magazine, Forbes Magazine, the New York Times, Sports Business Journal, Vice Sports, The Wall Street Journal, various law reviews, dozens of daily papers, and hundreds of sports blogs on issues related to college athlete rights, and NCAA governance. Partial subjects of the following books: JOE NOCERA, INDENTURED: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE REBELLION AGAINST THE NCAA (with Ben Strauss) (Penguin Random House 2016); and TAYLOR BRANCH, THE CARTEL: INSIDE THE RISE AND IMMINENT FALL OF THE NCAA (Am-azon 2011) (an expansion of his seminal article, The Shame of College Sports, The ATLANTIC MAG. 80 (Oct. 2011).


  • PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT FOR OHIO LAWYERS 2018: Attorney-Client Agreements, Settlements & Collecting Fees, Dec. 7, 2018, Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Law Library Association.
  • CONFERENCE ON COLLEGE SPORT: Where Do We Go from Here? College Sports Reform 2020 and Beyond, Apr. 13, 2018, Columbia, South Carolina, College Sports Research Institute at the University of South Carolina.
  • ADR SECTION PRESENTATION: Mediation Malpractice, Feb. 14, 2017, Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.
  • CONFERENCE ON COLLEGE SPORT: Athlete Activism—The Next Frontier in College Athletics, Apr. 22, 2016, Columbia, South Carolina, College Sports Research Institute at the University of South Carolina.
  • COLLEGE ATHLETES’ RIGHTS & EMPOWERMENT CONFERENCE: College Athletes, the NCAA, and Due Process, Mar. 26, 2016, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel University Department of Sports Management.
  • HOT TOPICS & PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUES: College Athletes’ Rights to their Names, Images, and Likenesses and the O’Bannon v. NCAA Class Action Litigation, Apr. 24, 2015, Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Academy of Trial Lawyers.
  • SPORTS LAW SYMPOSIUM: Commercialization of Amateur Sports and the Exploitation of its Players, Apr. 16, 2010, Jacksonville, Florida, Florida Coastal School of Law.
  • ETHICS, PROFESSIONALISM, AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE: A Look at the Lawyer’s Creed from an Everyday Lawyer’s Perspective … Practice Professionalism Always and Everyday, Nov. 4, 2004, Poland, Ohio, Clair M. Carlin, L.L.C.
  • MID-YEAR MEETING: Ethical Duties and Rule 11 Sanctions: Consistencies and Inconsistencies, Feb. 6, 2004, San Antonio, Texas, Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers.
  • ETHICS LUNCHEON SERIES: The Ten Dumbest Things Lawyers Do, Oct. 12, 2000, Youngstown, Ohio, Mahoning County Bar Association.
  • CURRENT ISSUES IN THE AREA OF ETHICS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE: The Snitch Rule: The Scope of an Attorney’s Obligation to Report the Ethical Violations of Members of the Bar, Dec. 13, 1991, Cleveland, Ohio, Cuyahoga County Bar Association.