Charles Johnson (Photo: John Disney/ALM) Charles Johnson III (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

Recently retired Holland & Knight partner Charles S. Johnson III has been named executive vice president and general counsel of Tuskegee University.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Mr. Johnson’s caliber guiding the university’s legal affairs,” Tuskegee President Lily D. McNair said in an announcement posted on the university’s website. “His professional acumen will benefit us in a wide range of matters governing university operations, academics, fiscal affairs and external partnerships.”

Johnson will serve as a member of the president’s cabinet and provide legal advice and related services to the university leadership, McNair said. In addition, he will represent the university in collaboration with the Office of Advancement and Development in matters relating to legislative and governmental relations.

Johnson is a former president of the Gate City Bar Association. He and AT&T in-house counsel Suzanne Ockleberry co-convened Advocacy for Action in 2013 as part of an ongoing effort to increase diversity in judicial elections and appointments.

Following his graduation from Boston College Law School, Johnson began his legal career as an antitrust lawyer, according to Tuskegee’s announcement. His litigation practice expanded to include health policy, education policy, tax law, employment law, securities, civil RICO and qui tam law, eminent domain, zoning and commercial disputes. He is a member of the Commercial Dispute Resolution Panel for the American Arbitration Association. His public policy practice has included counseling, regulatory and legislative advocacy and litigation. He has worked to enforce the federal Fair Housing Act and school desegregation and served as chair of the ABA Committee on Insurance Regulation. He is a trustee for his alma mater, Bard College.

Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, a partner with Smith, Gambrell & Russell, posted news of Johnson’s move to Tuskegee on LinkedIn. “Great news,” Sears said. Her post drew 456 likes and 36 congratulatory comments for Johnson.