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Gregory Johnson, Vermont Law School
Online Faculty

Greg Johnson

Director, Legal Writing Program
Professor of Law
Legal Writing
Online Learning Program
Semester in Practice
Externship Program
JD Externship Program

JD, Notre Dame Law School, 1985

AB, Cornell University, 1982


Curriculum Vitae

Greg Johnson


Professor Greg Johnson is an expert in legal writing, sexual orientation and the law, appellate advocacy, and constitutional law. The courses he has taught at Vermont Law and Graduate School include Legal Writing, Appellate Advocacy, Dispute Resolution, Sexual Orientation and the Law, and Constitutional Law.

Professor Johnson earned a BA degree from Cornell University in 1982 and a JD degree from Notre Dame Law School in 1985. Upon graduation from law school, he clerked with the Alaska Superior Court and then served as staff attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor in New Orleans. He was a legal research and writing instructor at St. Louis University School of Law from 1987 to 1988 and at the University of Oregon Law School from 1988 to 1992. He served as law clerk with the Alaska Supreme Court from 1992 to 1993 and from 1995 to 1996 and as senior court counsel with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau from 1993 to 1995. In 1996, he became an associate specializing in Native Alaskan law with the firm of Middleton & Timme in Anchorage. Professor Johnson served as special counsel to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau from 1997 to 2007. He joined the Vermont Law and Graduate School faculty in 1997. He has made numerous presentations across the nation on LGBT civil rights issues. He testified before both houses of the Vermont Legislature when it considered the civil union bill in 2000 and the landmark marriage equality bill in 2009.

Professor Johnson has also spoken at national and regional legal writing conferences. He has served on numerous legal writing committees. He was chair of the Scholarship Grants Committee of the Association of Legal Writing Directors from 2012-17.



Is Neil Gorsuch a Role Model for Legal Writing? Yes and No, 43 Vermont Bar J. 27 (2017)

Welcome to Our Gender-Neutral Future, 42 Vermont Bar J. 36 (2016)

The Connection Between Writing Effective Briefs and Remaining Fully Human, 41 Vermont Bar J. 21 (2015) (co-authored with Stephen Reynes)

Sweat the Small Stuff, 40 Vermont Bar Journal 37 (2014)

Credibility in Advocacy: Humility as the First Step, 39 Vermont Bar J. 22 (2013).
Spiralling Into Control: Appreciating the Groundbreaking Legal Writing Pedagogy of Professor Mary S. Lawrence, 91 Oregon Law Review Online 1 (2012).​
We've Heard this Before: The Legacy of Interracial Marriage Bans and the Implications for Today's Marriage Equality Debates, ​34 Vt. L. Rev. 277 (2009).

May It Please the Classroom: Using Pending United States Supreme Court Cases to Teach Appellate Advocacy and Persuasive Writing, 12 The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing 99 (2009)

​"Controversial Issues in the Legal Writing Classroom: Risks and Rewards," 16 Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing 12 (2007).
In Praise of Civil Unions, 30 Capital University Law Review 315 (2002).
Vermont Civil Unions: The New Language of Marriage, 25 Vt. L. Rev. 16 (2000).​​


"Civil Union: A Reappraisal," in Defending Same-Sex Marriage (Mark Strasser, ed. Praeger 2007).​
"Vermont Civil Unions: A Success Story," in Marriage and Same-Sex Unions, A Debate​, (Lynn Wardle, David Coolidge, and Mark Strasser, eds.) (Praeger 2003).


​Series of essays for the On-Line Gay/Lesbian Encyclopedia, ​including: Same-Sex Marriage;Vermont Civil Union; Workplace Discrimination; Anti-Discrimination Statutes and Ordinances; and Romer v. Evans.
Making History in Vermont, Loquitur, Vol. 15, No. 2, (Spring 2000), 12.


Becoming Centered—and a Better Advocate—Through Humility, Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Denver Law School, Denver, Colorado, March 2018

Joint Venture: The Negotiation and Drafting Workshop at Vermont Law School, (with Brian Porto), New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers Conference, Boston University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, October 2016

The Limits of Advocacy: Our Responsibilities When Incorporating Social Justice into Legal Writing, Legal Writing Institute Biennial Conference, Portland, Oregon, July 2016

Toward a Gender-Inclusive Campus, Presentation to the Diversity Committee, Vermont Law School, November 2015

Where Do You Go After Reaching the Summit?: LGBT Advocacy After Obergefell, Alliance Conference, Vermont Law School, October 2015

The Death of Class Actions: Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez and Other Important Class-Action Cases in This Year’s Term, Constitution Day, Vermont Law School, September 2015

​Legends of Legal Writing (Moderator), Northwest Legal Writing Conference, Oregon Law School, Eugene, Oregon, April 2015

Effective Brief Writing, (With Brian Porto), American Bar Association Section on Family Law, 2014 Fall CLE Conference, Stowe, VT, October 2014

Subject-Matter Specialties in Legal Writing: A Three-Dimensional Approach To Legal Writing Pedagogy, (With Professor Susan Thrower, DePaul University School of Law and Professor Lance Long, Stetson University College of Law), Legal Writing Institute Biennial Conference, Philadelphia, PA, June 2014

First for a Reason: The Continued Vitality of the First Amendment in Supreme Court Jurisprudence, Godnick Adult Center Lecture Series, Rutland, Vermont, February 2014

"Circling Back": Integrating Essential Analytical and Communication Skills Through a Spiral Legal Writing Curriculum, (With Professor Susan Provenzano, Northwestern University School of Law), Southeastern Legal Writing Conference, Stetson Law School, Gulfport, FL, April 2014

Victory! The Future of Marriage Equality after Windsor v. United States, Summer Pride Festival at Chandler Hall, Randolph, Vermont, July 2013

Presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary Lawrence, AALS Annual Meeting, Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, Washington, D.C., January 2013

Panelist and Workshop Leader, AALS Workshop for New Legal Writing Teachers, Washington, D.C., June 2013

Credibility in Advocacy: Humility as the First Step,Legal Writing Workshop, Berkeley Law School, Boalt Hall, Berkeley, California, December 2012

Unfinished Business: The Military’s Treatment of Transgender Service Members, Vermont Law School, November 2012

Diversity at Vermont Law School: An LGBTQI Perspective, Vermont Law School, October 2012

Participant in the International Community or Police Officer to the World: Prosecuting Human Rights Violations Under the Alien Tort Statute, Vermont Law School, September 2012

Finding Nemo (and his Anemone): The Symbiosis of Teaching and Scholarship, Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, Oregon, August 2012

There is No Finish Line: Getting Students to Embrace the Legal Process as a Never Ending Journey, Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law, Tempe, Arizona, March 2012

​"Career Paths in LGBT Civil Rights Law," Dartmouth Law Journal Panel on Public Law, Hanover, New Hampshire, February 2012.​
​"Don't Ask/Don't Tell Is No More!," Panel/Celebration, Vermont Law School, September 2011.​
​"Panelist, Symposium on Feminist Legal Theory," Southeast Legal Writing Conference, Mercer Law School, Macon, Georgia, April 2011.​
"Bringing the United States Supreme Court Bar to a New England Village: Vermont Law School's Annual Appellate Advocacy Panel", Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Nevada-Las Vegas Law School, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 2011.​
"The Letter or the Spirit of the Law? Differing Approaches to Second-Parent Adoption Among Courts in the United States," Cross-Border Conference on LGBT Civil Rights, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, November 2010.​
​"Lost In Translation: The Limits of Metaphor in Legal Writing,"​ Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Arizona Law School, Tucson, Arizona, March 2010.
​"In Defense of Vermont Law School's Position on Military Recruiting", Solomon Amendment Panel Discussion, Vermont Law School, March 2010.​
"Finding a New and Dynamic Framework for Legal Writing Assignments in the Apprenticeship Tradition,"​ Southeast Legal Writing Conference, Stetson University Law School, Gulfport, Florida, September 2009.
​"Recycling a Master: Lessons from Mary Lawrence's Groundbreaking Legal Writing Pedagogy", Northwest Legal Writing Conference, Lewis and Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon, August 2009.​
​"Credibility in Persuasive Writing: Humility as the First Step,"​ Association of Legal Writing Directors Biennial Conference, University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School, Kansas City, Missouri, July 2009.
"We've Heard This Before: The Legacy of Interracial Marriage Bans and the Implications for Today's Marriage Equality Debates", Dartmouth College Law Day Symposium​, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 2009.​
​"Centering Sexual Orientation in the Legal Writing Curriculum", AALS Annual Meeting, Section on Legal Research, Legal Writing, and Moot Court, San Diego, California, January 2009.​
​"Interstate Recognition of Civil Union and Same-sex Marriage," National Conference of State Legislatures, Annual Convention, New Orleans, La. (July 2008).​
​"Meet the New Boss: Reflections on the Growing Trend Towards Directorless Legal Writing Programs," New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers​ Annual Conference, Vermont Law School (December 2007).
​"The Merits of Clerking for State Courts," Judicial Clerkship Panel, Vermont Law School (September 2007).​
​"May It Please the Classroom: Using Pending Supreme Court Cases to Teach Persuasive Writing and Appellate Advocacy," Association of Legal Writing Directors, Biennial Conference, Denver, Colo. (June 2007).​
​"Civil Union: A Reappraisal," Forum for International Scholars, Woodstock, Vt. (September 2006).​
"The Future of Gay Rights," Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government (December 2005).​
​"Using Pending Supreme Court Cases to Teach Appellate Advocacy," Boston Legal Writing Conference (December 2002).​
​"Sexual Orientation and the Law," University of Massachusetts, Amherst (March 1999).​
​"The State of the Gay Rights Movement," VLS Sexual Orientation and the Law Conference (March 1999).​

​"Alaska's Same-Sex Marriage Case," Freedom to Marry Conference, Harvard Law School (February 1999).

Joint Venture: The Negotiation and Drafting Workshop at Vermont Law School, (with Brian Porto), New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers Conference, Boston University Law School Boston, Massachusetts, October 2016

Awards & Accomplishments

Awards, Honors or Grants

2014 Faculty Service Award, awarded to one faculty member each year by the Student Bar Association at Vermont Law School

Other Accomplishments or Activities

"Testimony on Marriage Equality Bill", Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee, March 2009, Vermont House Judiciary Committee, March 2009, Montpelier, Vermont.​
​"The Legal And Social Differences Between Marriage and Civil Union," testimony before the Vermont Commission on Family Recognition, Vermont Law School (October 2007).​

​Law Clerk, Alaska Superior Court, 1985–86, and Alaska Supreme Court, 1992–93, and 1995–96.


​Adjunct Professor, American College in London, 1983.

​Special Counsel to Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau, since 1997.

​Instructor, legal research and writing, Saint Louis University School of Law, 1987–88, and University of Oregon School of Law, 1988–92.

​Associate, specializing in Native Alaskan law, Middleton and Timme, Anchorage, 1996–97.

​Staff Attorney, US Department of Labor, New Orleans, 1986–87.

​Professor at Vermont Law School since 1997.

​Senior Court Counsel, Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau, 1993–95; chief adviser to court system of newly independent country.

Service Work

​Magistrate Pro Tempore, Alaska District Court, 1985–86.​

Created Palau's Supreme Court digest, summarizing the more than 350 cases since the establishment of the court in 1981.​​

Drafted rules of appellate procedure and rules of admiralty for Republic of Palau; enacted 1995.