Justice Earl Johnson, Jr. (ret.), the founder of and visionary behind the National Equal Justice Library and Consortium, is Scholar in Residence at the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles, California. He served as an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, from 1982 to 2007. He was a professor at the USC Gould School of Law in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Previously, Justice Johnson was the second director of the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) Legal Services Program, a program he was instrumental in creating as part of President Lyndon Johnsons “War on Poverty.” In that role, Justice Johnson created two of the most innovative ideas for providing legal services to poor people — legal services support centers, such as the Western Center on Law & Poverty and the Reginald Heber Smith law fellows, the ‘Reggies,” top flight young lawyers who received special training and then were placed in legal services agencies around the country. He also played a prominent role in the legislative efforts to create California’s IOLTA program.
He is the author of the definitive history of legal services, To Establish Justice For All: The Past and Future of Civil Legal Aid in the United States.