Photo of Linda Johnson
Linda S. Johnson
Director, Litigation Department and Chair of Education Law Group
Office603-628-1267
900 Elm Street
10th Floor
Manchester, NH 03101

Linda Johnson is a director with McLane Middleton, Professional Association which has offices in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She has over 30 years of experience litigating cases in state and federal agencies and courts, and in representing the interests of management in all aspects of labor and employment law. In addition to serving as the firm’s lead labor and employment lawyer, Linda served as the chair of the firm’s Employment Law and Education Law Groups for over 15 years. Linda continues to help lead the firm’s employment law services and to assist companies in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for all their employment law needs.

Linda is currently Chair of McLane’s Education Law Group and focuses her practice on understanding and serving the needs of K-12 independent  schools. She serves as outside legal counsel and a consultant to many of the country’s top independent day and boarding schools. She advises her clients on all aspects of school operations including employment law, student discipline, contracts, fiduciary and tort law, leadership development, investigations, compliance audits, risk management, crisis response, and student safety.  Linda consults with schools on both prevention and response to all types of educator misconduct and student on student sexual assaults.

She trains her clients on how to operate safely, how to recognize and address signs of inappropriate behavior, and how to respond to allegations of misconduct.  She is especially known for her passion and skill in developing school training programs, and has provided trainings to thousands of public and private school administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents, athletes and athletic directors around the country.  She has also developed a unique boundary awareness training program for working one-on-one with school employees who need help in understanding and recognizing the lines of appropriate behaviors with students.

Linda is recognized as a national authority on student and campus safety issues, risk management, boundary awareness, crisis response, employment law and independent school law issues.  She has authored numerous articles including the NAIS Guidelines for Dealing with Educator Sexual Misconduct, the NAIS Independent School Guide to Hiring, the NAIS Guidelines for Working With and Supporting Transgender Students, the NAIS Bullying Prevention Guide:  From Law to Policies to Action; How a Head Effectively Handles a Crisis in the NAIS Handbook for New Heads, and the NAIS student handbook publication Student Handbooks – The New 3 R’s: Rights, Responsibilities and Ramifications, among many others.

In 2014, Linda was one of three attorneys nationwide appointed to the Legal Advisory Board of The Association of Boarding Schools, (“TABS”) and Campus Outreach Services (“COS”) to assist the organizations in launching a program focused on independent schools and the law.  In announcing the appointments, TABS Executive Director Pete Upham referred to the attorneys as “three of the brightest lights in education law [representing] three firms [that] have worked to help hundreds of independent school clients navigate the complex and evolving web of national, state and local regulations. Simply put…[they] know the law and they know our schools.”

Linda is also well regarded by her peers and has been named as a leading labor and employment law attorney in a survey of the legal profession conducted by Business New Hampshire Magazine.  She is also AV rated by Martindale Hubbell which is the highest rating for legal ethics and services. She is also listed in Woodward’s Best Lawyers in America for both employment and education law, in New England SuperLawyers, and in Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers in Business where it is stated that her clients have commented that they “appreciate her responsiveness and ability to blend the legal and practical perspective;” and “If I really had a crisis, I could call Linda personally and know that she would sort it out immediately.”

Linda conducts sexual harassment investigations, sexual harassment trainings, personnel practices audits, wage and hour audits, and management workshops on such issues as hiring practices, harassment committee roles and responsibilities, managing within the law, performance management, record keeping for New Hampshire employers and conducting lawful terminations. She is also a frequent speaker on leadership development for employees, school administrators, students and athletes. Linda has substantial experience in alternative dispute resolution, serves as a private mediator and as a trained mediator for the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights. She has also served on, and assisted, numerous nonprofit organizations in all aspects of operations and legal compliance.

In the area of employment law, Linda represents employers and high level executives on a variety of issues including defense of employment claims including harassment, discrimination, noncompetition agreements, wrongful termination, wage and hour and breach of contract. She also works with companies regarding the development of employee handbooks, policies, contracts, and noncompetition agreements; state and federal law compliance; harassment investigations and internal complaints; employee discipline and terminations; union organizing campaigns; information management and security; reductions in force; severance agreements; wage and hour issues; medical and other leaves of absence; and workplace privacy issues. For five years, Linda served on the Employment Committee of the Society for Human Resource Management, and has served as a President, board member and legislative liaison of a local Human Resource Association.

In the school law area, Linda assists schools in all aspects of the day-to-day operations of a school from start-up school issues to governance, faculty and student concerns. She assists with staff training, reporting obligations, state and federal compliance for schools, board of trustee training, and regarding faculty, staff and student matters unique to the private school setting. Linda has developed trainings in the areas of harassment, hazing, bullying, safe school zone, abuse reporting obligations and maintaining safe boundaries with students. She has addressed thousands of school administrators, teachers, students, coaches, athletic directors, and parents in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and nationwide. She has helped schools and school districts to develop written policies and district-wide programs. She has assisted in, or conducted, harassment investigations for public and private schools, and also provides one-on-one sessions to teachers, coaches or students who have violated school harassment policies and need help in understanding the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

Linda received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

Areas of Focus

  • Arbitration and Mediation
  • Education and Independent Schools
  • Labor & Employment Law
  • General Civil Litigation
  • Lobbying Services for Independent Schools

Admissions

  • New Hampshire, Massachusetts, U.S. District Court for New Hampshire, First Circuit Court of Appeals
  • American Bar Association (Labor &, Employment Committee Member)
  • New Hampshire Bar Association (Treasurer, 1988-1990)
  • Fellow, New Hampshire Bar Foundation
  • Former Chair, Gender Equity in Education Task Force of the N.H. Commission on the Status of Women
  • Human Resource Committee of the NH Business & Industry Association
  • Society for Human Resource Management (former member of the Employment Committee)
  • Manchester Area Human Resource Association (former President, Board Member and Legislative Liaison)
  • N.H. Bar Association Labor and Employment Committee (Chair 2005)
  • National School Boards Association
  • N.H. Council of School Attorneys
  • Volunteer Mediator for N.H. Commission for Human Rights and for N.H. Superior Courts.

Involvement

  • New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women (Former Commissioner)
  • Fellow, New Hampshire Bar Foundation
  • Member, Board of Directors, NH Women’s Foundation
  • Member, Board of Directors of New Hampshire Musculoskeletal Institute and Safe Sports Network
  • Corporation Member, Board of Trustees, Chair of the Global Engagement Committee, and Member of the Finance and Trusteeship Committees, Rivier University
  • Volunteer, New Hampshire Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  • Member, New Hampshire Nonpublic School Advisory Committee
  • Member, New Hampshire Diversity Workforce Coalition
  • Chair, McLane Middleton Diversity Committee
  • Member, McLane Middleton Education Law Group, Employment Law Group, and Client Service Committee
  • Member, St. Anselm’s Center for Ethics in Society.

Recognitions

Awards

  • NH Business Review – an inaugural listing of the State’s most influential business leaders (2019)
  • 2018 Lawyer of the Year (Education Law) by Best Lawyers in America
  • Outstanding Business Woman of New Hampshire – N.H. Business Review (2006)
  • Philip S. Hollman Equality Award – Committee on Gender Equality of the NH Bar Association (2006)
  • Leadership New Hampshire – Class of 2005
  • Marilla Ricker Women Lawyer of the Year – N.H. Women’s Bar Association (2002)
  • Jon Meyer Civil Rights Award – N.H. Civil Liberties Union Foundation (2002)
  • Regional and Statewide Champion for Children – N.H. School Administrators Association (1996)
  • One of the Outstanding Women of New Hampshire – Manchester & Nashua Magazines (1990)
  • New Hampshire Bar Association President’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Association and to the Public (1987)

Podcasts

Media