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 Co-Chair of McLane’s Education Law Group and focuses her practice on understanding and serving the needs of independent and boarding schools. She serves as outside legal counsel to many of the country’s top independent and boarding schools including the largest independent academy in the United States. She also provides counseling services, policy development and review, and trainings to public schools especially in the area of safe schools and employment law. She works closely with heads of schools, deans, financial officers, trustees, and others. 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. 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.
Areas of Focus
- Arbitration and Mediation
- Education and Independent Schools
- Labor & Employment Law
- General Civil Litigation
- Lobbying Services for Independent Schools