One of my mother’s friends years ago told me to be yourself and not let anybody take your dreams away, focus on what you want. That’s really helped me a lot.
Kimberly Leach Johnson grew up in Lancaster, Ohio, coming from “a long line of engineers.” That field didn’t interest her. One of her professors at Anderson College (now Anderson University) suggested the law. And in the meantime, Johnson went to the policy academy and became a reserve officer in Ocala, running its rape-crisis center and low-income senior center.
She finished her undergraduate degree in three years, then law school at the University of Florida in 27 months. Although she intended to go back north after college, in law school she met the man she’d marry, who was from St. Petersburg and “had too much sand in his shoes.”
The couple moved to Naples, where she believes she was the ninth female lawyer in the city.
She assumes it’s because she had children that clients used to ask, “Are you going to be in this for the long term? Are you going to be here when I need you?”
Johnson worked in tax law before moving on to Quarles & Brady, a firm with 450 lawyers and offices in Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona and Washington, D.C. as well as Florida. In addition to the demanding legal schedule she kept, Johnson became involved with the firm’s diversity committee to help women work more flexible or reduced hours. She maintained her own client base while serving on other committees in the firm before making national news as one of the first women to chair a top 200 firm as designated by American Lawyer magazine.
Locally, she has worked with organizations including Camp Boggy Creek, the Naples Art Association and FGCU.