Pamela L. Johnston



Pam Johnston is a Los Angeles health care lawyer who defends companies and individuals in investigations and cases involving the False Claims Act (FCA), health care fraud, complex criminal laws, and SEC securities issues. Pam is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried more than 30 cases in federal and state courts and has written more than 60 federal appellate briefs.  Pam honed her trial skills during her 14 years as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in Los Angeles, ending her tenure in government as a Deputy Chief of the Major Frauds Section.  She began that tenure as a civil AUSA prosecuting False Claims Act, FIRREA, and forfeiture cases. Pam is also well-known as a Los Angeles insider-trading lawyer.   

According to Chambers USA, clients and market sources describe Pam as a “‘really fine lawyer’ who particularly stands out for her ‘tremendous insight’ into the strategies of government agencies.” They also say she is "very strong and very effective," “extremely knowledgeable and experienced,” and has “impeccable judgment.”

Pam has “strong litigation credentials and expertise” in “False Claims Act” cases and a “range of white-collar criminal matters, including securities enforcement.” A client noted, “I was very pleased with her availability to promptly get back to me anytime, day or night,” adding, “She has great judgment and is tough when she needs to be.”  Clients hire Foley in California for its deep “FCPA practice.”

Clients facing government investigations turn to Pam for her judgment -- informed by her extensive trial experience, successful handling of various types of fraud and corruption investigations, depth in the area of parallel FCA investigations, understanding of the federal criminal system and ability to navigate effectively that system on behalf of her clients – and for her ability to defend effectively in Court when required.


  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations (2012-2019, 2008-2009)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© -- White-Collar Criminal Defense (2007-2019)
  • Southern California Super Lawyers® -- White-Collar Criminal Defense (2018-2019, 2007-2016).
  • Department of Justice Director’s Awards for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (1997, 2005)
  • Appellate Clerkship, the Hon. Irving L. Goldberg, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • District Court Clerkship, the Hon. Truman Hobbs, Middle District of Alabama


  • University of California Berkeley School of Law (JD)
    • Order of the Coif (top 10%)
    • Executive Editor and founding member, Berkeley Technology Law Journal
  • University of California at Davis (BS), Botany and English


  • California
  • U.S. Appellate Courts:  Second, Ninth and Eleventh
  • U.S. District Courts:  C.D. of Cal., S.D. of Cal., and N.D. of Cal.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Pam writes and speaks on government issues relevant to the health care industry: 

  • Panelist, “A Kickback Discussion on Civil and Criminal Trends in Health Care,” ABA White Collar Committee (June 25, 2019).
  • “Ambulance Suppliers: CMS Launches ET3 - A New Triage Model for EMS,” Health Care Law Today, Foley Blog (February 27, 2019).
  • “A Review of Recent Whistleblower Developments,” Foley & Lardner LLP Legal News: Whistleblower Developments (2014 - 2019). 


The Ninth Circuit Expected to Rule that Doctors Can Be Wrong in the Winter v. Gardens False Claims Act Case
18 September 2019
Legal News: Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations
A Review of Recent Whistleblower Developments
19 July 2019
Legal News: Whistleblower Developments
Supreme Court Maximizes Statute of Limitations for Relators Suing Under the False Claims Act
31 May 2019
Health Care Law Today
Post-Granston Memo, DOJ Can Use Its Dismissal Authority, but Not Without Limits
16 May 2019
Legal News: Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations

A Kickback Discussion on Civil and Criminal Trends in Health Care

25 June 2019
Los Angeles, CA
2018 Annual EMSACC Conference
30-31 May 2018
San Diego, CA
International Investigations, Government Enforcement & Compliance Symposium
12 October 2017
Chicago, IL
Health Care Compliance Association's (HCCA) 2015 Healthcare Enforcement Compliance Institute
25 October 2015
Washington, D.C.