V Card


  • Corporate and Health Care Investigations and Defense
  • Federal and State Criminal Defense
  • National Bd. Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Past President, Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Past Chair, Tennessee Bar Association Criminal Justice Section
  • Associate General Counsel, Tennessee Bar Association
  • Chair, Law Office Technology and Management Com., Knoxville Bar Association
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law
  • Master of the Bench, Hamilton Burnett American Inn of Court

Stephen Ross Johnson provides legal representation for individuals and companies charged with major felonies, white collar crimes, and other serious crimes. An appellate and trial attorney, Mr. Johnson represents clients in both state and federal courts. He has briefed or argued cases in front of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Tennessee, as well as the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Circuits. He has also briefed or argued cases before the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, and all federal district courts in Tennessee. Additionally, Mr. Johnson has been admitted to practice in an array of other state and federal courts on a pro hac vice basis.

Mr. Johnson obtained his Doctor of Jurisprudence with honors from the University College of Law. While in law school, he served on the Constitutional Law Moot Court Team and the Moot Court Board. He was also a member of Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law, coordinated the Homeless Project, chaired the Speaker Series and UT Pro Bono, and was the founding director of the Tennessee Innocence Project. He received numerous honors, including the Dean’s Citation for Extraordinary Contributions to the College of Law and the Excellence in Criminal Advocacy Award. Mr. Johnson is a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College (NCDC).

Mr. Johnson’s experience in criminal defense encompasses a vast range of hearings and jury trials. He has provided defense counsel for cases involving charges of racketeering, theft of trade secrets, money laundering, illegal gambling, health care fraud, government contract fraud, bank fraud, wire and mail fraud, perjury, illegal drug distribution, firearms offenses, assault, internet crimes, child abuse and neglect, rape and other sexual offenses, and homicide. He has successfully defended individuals charged with murder for which the death penalty was sought and has represented those wrongfully convicted of serious felony charges on appeal and collateral review, to include direct appeal, state post-conviction, and federal habeas corpus proceedings. Mr. Johnson has also represented various health care providers and licensed professionals in disciplinary issues.

An adjunct professor with the University of Tennessee College of Law, Mr. Johnson helped create and has been involved with the Innocence and Wrongful Convictions Clinic for more than 15 years. He now supervises third-year law students in the clinic. He has taught law students, lawyers, and law enforcement officials and has published a number of articles on topics ranging from ethics to trial practice to the death penalty, as well as wiretapping, federal grand jury investigations, pretrial preparation, jury selection, forensics, cross-examinations, and other matters related to criminal law and litigation. Mr. Johnson has been profiled and/or quoted in numerous publications, including Newsweek, the National Law Journal, the Vanderbilt Law Review, and the Tennessee Law Review.

Mr. Johnson is a member of numerous organizations. He is on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), is a co-chair of NACDL’s Sixth Circuit amicus committee, and is a past President of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (TACDL). For three consecutive years he served as chair of the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) Criminal Justice Section, and he is the Associate General Counsel for the TBA. Mr. Johnson is on faculty with the Tennessee Criminal Defense College (TCDC), and is a member of the white-collar defense, sentencing, investment, forfeiture, and membership committees of NACDL. He serves as chair of the law office technology and management committee of the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) and is both an officer and a Master of the Bench with the Hamilton Burnett Chapter of the American Inns of Court. He is a fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the Knoxville Bar Foundation. For his volunteer efforts, the Tennessee Bar Association honored Mr. Johnson with its Access to Justice Award. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America in the area of white-collar criminal defense and has achieved an AV rating for preeminent legal ability and ethical standards from Martindale-Hubbell®.

Mr. Johnson earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Economics with a minor in Political Science from Carson-Newman University. As honor student, Mr. Johnson was president of Bonner Scholars. Upon his graduation, Bonner Scholars created the Stephen Ross Johnson Service and Leadership Award and named him the award’s first annual recipient. Mr. Johnson was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to the United Kingdom, where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Contemporary Economic History from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and worked as an economist for Govan Initiative, a Scottish economic development agency.

Before entering his law practice, Mr. Johnson worked in banking, retail, education, manufacturing, and farming. He also has a background as a private investigator and juvenile probation officer. In his free time, Mr. Johnson enjoys cycling and long distance running. He has coached youth basketball and remains active in his church and local community. Mr. Johnson is married to his best friend, Amy Benner Johnson. Together, they have three children. Mr. Johnson considers his most important titles to be that of husband and father.