Pamela L. Johnston is a trial lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, where she is a member of the firm’s Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations Practice, the Securities Enforcement & Litigation Practice, and the Health Care Industry Team. Pamela focuses in the areas of False Claims Act and whistleblower investigations and cases, white collar criminal defense, securities enforcement and other government enforcement actions. She represents companies and individuals in parallel civil and criminal proceedings involving a variety of alleged wrongdoing, including submission of false claims, health care fraud, issues in the ambulance industry, insider trading, accounting fraud, other securities fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, structuring, fraud, and other business crimes. She regularly advises large and small ambulance and EMS companies regarding regulatory issues and represents them in False Claims Act and criminal investigations and litigation. She conducts internal investigations for companies. In her purely civil litigation cases, Pamela focuses on cases that typically involve complex legal issues such as securities or accounting issues.
According to Chambers USA, Pamela
[is recognized] as a ‘very effective and hard-working lawyer.’ Sources highlight her strength in healthcare fraud cases, where she applies the experience and gravitas gained during her tenure as a federal prosecutor. Interviewees add: ‘She has great judgment and is tough when she needs to be.’ (Chambers 2018)
[is highlighted] for her ‘impeccable judgment’ and ‘deep knowledge of how the DOJ works.’ (Chambers 2017)
brings strong litigation credentials and expertise to a range of white-collar criminal matters, including securities enforcement and False Claims Act claims. Sources praise Johnston as a ‘really fine lawyer’ who particularly stands out for her ‘tremendous insight’ into the strategies of government agencies. (Chambers 2016)
is one of the best I’ve ever come into contact with. She fought for my case, and I felt the outcome was extremely important to her. (Chambers 2014)
According to Chambers USA, Foley’s white collar team in California is:
[recognized for its] client service [which] shows through in everything they do, from their communications to their advice and work product. As a client, you feel like you get appropriate, personal attention and practical, real-world advice. (Chambers 2018).
[an] accomplished practice with expertise in False Claims Act cases, FCPA matters, and government investigations, alongside firm's signature strengths in healthcare work. Offers niche expertise in representing Latin American and Asian clients in white-collar work. ‘It really is a strong team. They hire common-sense, street-smart lawyers who are all respected in the community.’ (Chambers 2017)
routinely called upon for its noted capabilities in healthcare fraud litigation by clients such as hospitals and ambulance service providers. ‘They have a robust and knowledgeable team in regulated financial markets.’ (Chambers 2016)
excellent. They have been responsive, thorough, and have provided a strong strategy with a cost-effective approach. They were extremely thorough, had very good connectivity to the claim, and knew how to create clarity around it. (Chambers 2014)
[a] superb group [with] a strong track record for its skillful handling of a broad spectrum of securities and white-collar criminal litigation. Foley combines large firm resources with small firm personal care. … Pamela Johnston … is regarded as a ‘fantastic lawyer’ by peers. (Chambers 2013)
From 2012 – 2018 and 2008 – 2009, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business recognized Pamela for her white-collar and healthcare work. Since 2007, The Best Lawyers in America© has recognized her for her white-collar criminal defense work. From 2007 to 2016, 2018, Southern California Super Lawyers® has recognized her for her white-collar criminal defense work. In 2006, the Daily Journal named Pamela one of California’s Top Women Litigators. As a federal prosecutor, the United States Attorney General twice awarded Pamela the prestigious Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney.
Pamela's False Claims Act experience involves cases and investigations pertaining to:
Pamela's securities experience involves criminal cases and SEC cases and investigations pertaining to:
The focus of Pamela’s criminal experience in the past five years has been:
Prior to joining Foley, Pamela was a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for 14 years, where she worked in both the criminal and civil divisions. During her nine years as a criminal Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA), Pamela investigated and prosecuted criminal cases involving securities fraud, accounting fraud, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, mail and wire fraud, and other potential violations of the federal fraud statutes. She worked closely with her counterparts at the SEC on the securities cases. During her last four years as a federal prosecutor, Pamela was a deputy chief of the Criminal Division’s Major Frauds Section. During her first five years as a civil AUSA, Pamela investigated and litigated False Claims Act cases, forfeiture, FIRREA civil penalty and other affirmative civil enforcement actions in federal court. Pamela successfully tried numerous sophisticated fraud cases to jury verdict and argued frequently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Following law school graduation, she served as a law clerk to the late Honorable Irving L. Goldberg, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and as a law clerk to the Honorable Truman M. Hobbs, then chief judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
Pamela received her undergraduate degree in 1984 from the University of California at Davis. She received her law degree in 1987 from the University of California at Berkeley, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif. Pamela was a founder of and served as the executive editor of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal.
Pamela is admitted to practice in California.
Selected Publications and Presentations
Pamela’s publications and presentations include:
A Kickback Discussion on Civil and Criminal Trends in Health Care