Lyman Johnson ’73 is an attorney, scholar, consultant, expert witness, and professor whose scholarship on the legal and moral responsibilities of modern-day businesses impacts how today’s laws are written and implemented. He has published more than 60 scholarly works with the Columbia Law Review, Cambridge University Press, The Business Lawyer, and more. These writings on corporate governance, along with his testimony and expertise, have been cited in multiple court cases throughout the United States. Early in his career he argued for a rethinking of corporate purpose to include social responsibility; though he was then in the minority, today many scholars agree with Johnson’s assertions that maximizing profits should not be the sole aim of management. Johnson also is the nation’s leading corporate law scholar on the duties of corporate officers.
Johnson is noted as well for investing heavily in his students and supplementing traditional teaching with hands-on learning. An economics major at Carleton who earned his JD from the University of Minnesota, Johnson was named the inaugural Robert O. Bentley Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University in 1985 and now holds that Chair, Emeritus. He is also a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas and a fellow in St. Thomas’s Halloran Center for Ethics in the Professions. For many years, he was the LeJeune Distinguished Chair in Law. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.