Johnnie A. James

Shareholder || Los Angeles

Mr. James has extensive experience in every aspect of employment law, including advising corporate clients on wage and hour issues, employee handbooks and related policies, employee hiring, terminations, mass layoffs, and non-compete agreements. Mr. James also defends corporate clients against employment claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the California Fair Employment & Housing Act, California Wage Orders, as well as other related state law claims.

Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Mr. James was a partner at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, and Manatt Phelps & Phillips, where he co-managed Manatt’s Labor & Employment Practice Group.  Mr. James also spent several years in-house, serving as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of SAGE Publications, Inc., an international academic publishing company.  Mr. James began his legal career at Alschuler Grossman & Pines, a litigation boutique firm in Los Angeles, where he became that firm’s first African-American partner.

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  • J.D., New York University School of Law, 1989
  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1986

Admittance to Practice

  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Professional Activities

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Minority Corporate Counsel Association
  • Board of Directors, Constitutional Rights Foundation (2009–2010)
  • Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Los Angeles Urban League (2002-2005)
  • Board of Directors, Public Counsel (1994-1997)
  • Board of Advisors, NYU Root-Tilden-Snow Scholarship Program (1992-1996)


  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Making the Tough Call: Real World Ethical Dilemmas for In-House Counsel" - San Diego - May 5, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "California, Here I Come!" - Napa - March 1, 2017
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section - "Nuts and Bolts of Employment Law Part II" - Los Angeles - January 29, 2011
  • Century City Bar Association - "Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession – Harassment and Discrimination Awareness" - Los Angeles - January 25, 2011
  • Practicing Law Institute, California Employment Law Update 2010 - "The Convergence of Workers’ Compensation, the ADA, and the California Fair Employment & Housing Act: Potential Traps for the Unwary" - San Francisco - November 16, 2010
  • California Minority Counsel Program’s 21st Annual Business Conference - "The Diversity Edge: Making Law Firm Diversity a Reality" - San Francisco - September 30, 2010
  • The Most Influential Minority Attorneys in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Business Journal (2018)
  • The Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys, Up-and-Comers, Human Resource Executive Magazine (2011)
  • California Super Lawyers (2004-2007)
  • NYU Root-Tilden Scholar

Insights by Johnnie A. James