Neville Johnson '75
Johnson & Johnson LLP
The Outstanding Alumnus/a in Entertainment and Media Law is presented to a Southwestern graduate in recognition of exceptional accomplishment in the entertainment and media industries and significant contributions to the legal profession, the community, and Southwestern.
Neville Johnson graduated from Southwestern Law School in 1975. He has served on the Southwestern Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law Alumni Association (SWEIP) since its inception and also served as a member of the Biederman Executive Committee. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Southwestern since 2012, where he teaches Entertainment and Media Litigation. Mr. Johnson and his wife (Cindy, Class of 2000) have also been long-time members of the Dean’s Circle Society at Southwestern.
During his legal career, Mr. Johnson has spent decades defending the rights of individuals in the entertainment industry. The Los Angeles Times has referred to him as “one of the most feared litigators in Hollywood” who “has wrangled more than $350 million for actors, writers, and other clients he contends were shortchanged their fair share of royalties and profits.” With dozens of civil jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations, mediations, and criminal cases under his belt, Mr. Johnson is routinely recognized as the “go-to” attorney for wronged talent and is a mainstay on The Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of the top 100 “Power Lawyers” in entertainment. Mr. Johnson’s clients include some of the most legendary names in music, film, and television, who regularly turn to him for counsel in protecting their legacies, assets, and income streams from unscrupulous individuals.
Mr. Johnson has litigated and settled countless cases against a wide array of defendants concerning royalty accounting, profit participation, publicity rights, idea theft, copyright infringement, and many other entertainment law matters. However, his greatest pride has been in defending the privacy rights of all citizens against the worst malefactors in the media. His work in this field was perhaps best summarized by Professor David A. Elder, a leading expert on the law of privacy, who published the following special dedication in his treatise, Privacy Torts:
To Neville L. Johnson, …who has led the charge, often successfully (and always creatively and with great passion) in exposing some of the worst outrages of media newsgathering. Neville ranks with Brandeis and Warren as the great defenders of privacy. All America is in his debt.