Robert L. Johnson

Robert L. Johnson
Chief Diversity Officer & Director, Corporate Department

Education: JD, Seton Hall University School of Law; Thurgood Marshall School of Law; BA, Rice University
Company Name: Gibbons P.C.
Industry: Law
Company CEO: Patrick C. Dunican Jr. (Chairman and Managing Director)
Company Headquarters Location: Newark, New Jersey
Number of Employees: 300+
Words you live by: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” –James Baldwin
Who is your personal hero? Muhammad Ali and James Baldwin
What book are you reading? The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
What was your first job: Professional basketball player in Chalon, France
Favorite charity: Fresh Air Fund
Interests: Running, playing basketball, and traveling
Family: Daughter (Alice Johnson-Lindblom), mother (Debra Johnson), grandmother (Alberta Cosby), and sister (Misti Mostiller)

Passionate about Entrepreneurial Success

As a corporate attorney, I am currently most passionate about helping founders and entrepreneurs running startups and other early-stage businesses to get on, and stay on, the right track. The legal issues connected with a startup, including forming, structuring, funding, and protecting a new business, are critical, but unfortunately, too often neglected by busy entrepreneurs.

As Gibbons chief diversity officer, I am often in the position to meet entrepreneurs of all races, genders, sexual preferences, and ages, representing all industries and business models, who require mentoring and all types of assistance. I consider myself very fortunate, in this exciting role with so many Gibbons resources at my fingertips, to be able to provide a wide range of assistance to entrepreneurs, with the goal of helping them increase their chances of entrepreneurial success.

This passion led me to join forces with the Gibbons Cares pro bono program this summer to launch the firm’s newest pro bono effort: a partnership with the Small Businesses Need Us program. This program was recently launched by the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) to assist women and minority small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

IFEL created Small Businesses Need Us in response to the struggle many small businesses are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its related business shutdowns and slowdowns. With restricted operations, interruptions in supply chains, and decreased sales and profits, these businesses may find themselves unable to afford the services they need to stay afloat, including legal services. Small Businesses Need Us aims to mobilize and activate professionals throughout the business community to pool their experience to help small businesses survive and recover from the impact of COVID-19.

Through the initiative, volunteers with various specialties required for day-to-day business operations, including legal service providers, are organized into cross-functional teams and matched with participating small businesses, based on those organizations’ specific needs. All work is done remotely via phone and video conferencing. Volunteers can choose to work on defined projects, donate a set number of hours across projects, answer questions online, or offer in-kind products or services. Gibbons attorneys will have to opportunity to assist a variety of small women- and minority-owned enterprises in a wide range of legal practice areas, including corporate, employment, real estate, intellectual property, and data privacy and security, among other types of legal services these businesses may need.