Barbara V. Johnson


Barbara was born in 1951 on Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana, where her father was serving in the Air Force. She grew up primarily in Louisiana, with a few years in Camden, New Jersey.  She attended kindergarten through the second grade at a private Quaker school in Morristown, NJ.  Then, her family moved back to northern Louisiana and lived close to Blanchard, LA. When she was a junior in high school, her family moved to New Orleans. 

She graduated from Riverdale High School in 1969 and attended one semester at Southeastern Louisiana College in Hammond, Louisiana. Then her family moved back to the Blanchard area where she attended Louisiana State University in Shreveport for two semesters.

While living in New Orleans, Barbara met her husband Don and they were married in 1970. Barbara and Don lived in New Orleans from 1970 until 1974.  Both their son, Donny Deron Johnson, Jr., and their daughter, Donya Jacqueline Johnson, were born in New Orleans. 

Barbara grew up in the South in the 1950s and 1960s during what she describes as a racially volatile and gender biased era. She wanted their children to thrive in a different environment. They visited her parents in Albuquerque and discovered that the diverse cultures recognized and celebrated their similarities and differences. So they left the luscious greenery of the South and moved to the gorgeous desert of New Mexico. They have called Albuquerque their home since 1974. 

As a musician, her husband Don worked his way up to become a business owner of music stores. He has served the residents of New Mexico by renting and selling musical instruments to school children. Barbara and Don attend Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque. In addition to their two accomplished children, Barbara and Don have five grandchildren.

Barbara V. Johnson


Barbara earned a Bachelor of University Studies from the University of New Mexico focusing on political science and writing. During most of her undergraduate studies, she worked full-time in the legal profession as a night-shift word processor, legal secretary and paralegal. It took 10 years for Barbara to complete her degree, having the time and money for only one course per semester.

Barbara had dreamed of becoming a lawyer since she was 12 years old, so she applied for law school following her bachelor’s degree. At the time, UNM Law School only admitted about 100 out of 1,200 applicants per year. The third time she was put on the waiting list, she appealed and was finally admitted to UNM School of Law in the Fall of 1985. She graduated in 1988 and passed the bar exam immediately thereafter.

Barbara V. Johnson

Legal Career

By the time she started law school, Barbara knew she wanted to practice Family Law. She researched the best Family Law lawyers and interned for a semester with the best. She worked as an Associate for Betty Read for five years. She started her own practice but continued to share office space with her mentor until Betty retired.

Since 1988, Barbara’s practice has been in Family Law, handling legal separations, divorces, paternity cases, and custody cases. Family Law is a very broad practice area involving all aspects of child custody and assets and liabilities of spouses, including private and public retirement plans, businesses, real estate property, consumer and credit liabilities, bankruptcy, taxes and estate law. It is a very volatile area of practice and requires a wide knowledge base. Barbara describes Family Law as a very rewarding practice in what matters a great deal to her – families. She is honored to serve her clients during one of the worst situations in their lives. Barbara still practices Family Law as she has for almost 32 years.


Barbara V. Johnson

Community and Professional Service

Barbara has always been very active in her profession and her community, including:

  • Serving on the New Mexico Child Support Guideline Review Committee
  • Serving on the New Mexico Alimony Guideline Committee
  • Serving on the New Mexico State Bar Family Law Section as Chairperson and the Continuing Legal Education and Legislative Committees
  • Serving as President of the New Mexico Women’s Bar Association, building a Habitat for Humanity townhouse during her term
  • Serving on the State Bar of New Mexico Committee on Women and the Legal Profession
  • Serving on the Board of Directors for the Albuquerque Women’s Resource Center

Barbara has been recognized for her service with:

  • Robert H. LaFollette Pro Bono Award in 2000
  • Golden Hammer Award from the Women’s Bar Association for work with Habitat for Humanity
  • Volunteer Commitment Award for the Courthouse Booth
  • Exceptional Contribution Award for Volunteer Legal Services to the Pro Bono Project from the Legal Aid Society of Albuquerque


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