Biography: Karl J. Johnson

Karl’s legal practice focuses primarily on bankruptcy law. He has represented debtors in all stages of bankruptcy cases under chapters 7, 11, and 13, and has secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy cases under chapters 7, 11, 12, and 13. He also has experience drafting loan documents, litigating creditor-debtor disputes, and handling collections.

He represents a wide range of clients including individuals facing financial difficulty, small and large businesses, and institutional creditors. Karl brings comprehensive experience to his practice, thanks to his two years clerking for the Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Minnesota and nearly three years as staff counsel to the Standing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee for the District of Minnesota. He has appeared as attorney of record in thousands of bankruptcy cases and has successfully defended two appeals, one before the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota and the other before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Eighth Circuit.

Among his successes, he:

  • Represented a client in a bankruptcy adversary proceeding, resulting in state court sanctions being excepted from discharge
  • Defended a bankruptcy adversary proceeding based on allegations of fraud, resulting in dismissal of the complaint
  • Settled a seven-figure fraudulent transfer action for less than 8% of the amount in controversy
  • Negotiated adequate protection that resulted in larger plan payments for a bank client
  • Successfully argued that a nonprofit organization cannot be classified as a small business debtor in a Chapter 11 case and cannot be burdened with the additional procedural requirements that are imposed on a small business debtor

Karl is admitted to practice in Minnesota state courts, the United States District Court and the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota and the Central District of Illinois, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

What excites me most is helping my clients assess their circumstances and providing them with reasonable, cost-effective options to address their needs.
- Karl J. Johnson


Karl graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School. He has a Master of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

University of Minnesota Law School

Minneapolis, MN
Major: Law / Magna Cum Laude
Degree: J.D.

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Major: English Language and Literature
Degree: M.A.

Sarah Lawrence College

Bronxville, New York
Major: Philosophy and Creative Writing
Degree: B.A.


  • Member of the Minnesota, Hennepin County, and National Asian Pacific American bar associations
  • Member of the Pro Bono Committee of the Bankruptcy Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Frequent presenter at seminars on various topics:
    •  Utilizing Chapter 12 as a Tool in Agricultural Workouts, March 2017
    •  Bankruptcy Basics for General Counsel, February 2017
    •  Vesting Provisions in Bankruptcy Plans, February 2017
    •  The New Form Schedules, December 2015
    •  Real Estate Issues in Chapter 13, November 2015
    •  Basics of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, October 2015
    •  Bankruptcy Cases Before the Supreme Court, May 2015
    •  Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Basics, May 2015
    •  “Lien-Stripping” in Chapter 13, October 2013
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