William H. Johnson, '72
Claflin University is pleased to announce the addition of two members to its Board of Trustees, William H. Johnson, Esq., '72, and James K. Lehman, Esq.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome Mr. Johnson and Mr. Lehman to our distinguished Board of Trustees,” said President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale “Their remarkable success in law and corporate America will prove invaluable as Claflin University forges ahead with its mission to become one of the premier undergraduate teaching and research universities in the world. They will add considerable talent to an already dynamic collection of visionary men and women who humbly serve on our governing body.”
Johnson is the senior attorney and chief intellectual property counsel for one of the nation's premier transportation companies, Norfolk Southern Corporation. Lehman is a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, a national law firm based in Columbia.
Formerly a member of Claflin's Board of Visitors, Johnson has a legal career that spans 35 years which has impacted the regulatory, legislative and business ends of the rail transportation industry.
Before joining Norfolk Southern, Johnson was the associate general counsel for Consolidated Rail Corporation (CONRAIL) in Philadelphia, Pa. He represented CONRAIL in multi-million dollar commercial legislation. He joined Norfolk Southern when the company acquired CONRAIL. Upon graduating from Duke Law School in 1975, he was employed by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Later, he joined the staff of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, ultimately becoming chief counsel for its Surface Transportation Subcommittee.
Johnson is active in the legal community, serving in leadership positions such as president of the Barristers Association of Philadelphia; regional director of the National Bar Association for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware and the National Bar Association Board of Governors, among others.
He is listed in the “Who's Who in American Law” and received Urban League of Philadelphia's Cecil B. Moore Award. Johnson received personal letters of commendation from former President Jimmy Carters for his role in developing the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 and the Amtrak Reorganization Act of 1979.
He is married to the former Annette Bell and the couple has three sons.
James K. Lehman
Before rejoining Nelson Mullins in 2004, Lehman was the senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Safety-Kleen Corp. He joined Safety-Kleen in the midst of the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Through his leadership, the company managed to escape bankruptcy and settle more than 400 lawsuits and 25,000 creditor claims.
He is a member of the South Carolina and District of Columbia Bar, which admits to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Lehman had a previous stint with Nelson Mullins and also worked in Washington, D.C. and New York law offices of Davis Polk & Wardwell. He is a 1990 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law.
At Nelson Mullins, Lehman practices in the areas of corporate and securities litigation, white collar investigations, professional liability, antitrust, environment and mass tort litigation.
He currently serves as board chairman of United Way of the Midlands and is the immediate past president of the South Carolina Philharmonic. Lehman also serves on the boards of the Central Carolina Community Foundation, Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce “Good to Great Campaign”, and the Midlands Housing Alliance, among others.