Poyner Spruill Welcomes Education Law Practice Group

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Keith Johnson

t: 919.783.1013 f: 919.783.1075

With over 30 years of experience, Keith is a versatile attorney and a seasoned litigator, who also advises long-standing business clients in a variety of transactions and matters.

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Keith’s litigation experience extends beyond the courtroom. He has litigated matters before N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, in arbitration, and before local government boards and councils in quasi-judicial proceedings. He heads litigation teams at the firm on several complex cases. Keith also advises business clients, utilizing the expertise of his construction, corporate, tax, and estates law partners as needed.

Keith represents developers and local governments regarding the redevelopment of contaminated property. He has guided clients through the various state programs to address contaminated property, including the brownfields and dry-cleaning solvent programs. He has developed unique expertise regarding stormwater regulation. He has also litigated various environmental disputes, including multi-party Superfund litigation. In 2019, he was named Legal Elite Environmental Attorney of the Year by N.C. Business Magazine. Keith is active in the movement to reform how coastal fisheries resources are managed in North Carolina.

Keith and his wife, Shelly, have two grown children and two energetic Labrador retrievers. Keith is a golfer, fisherman, cyclist, and yoga enthusiast who inherited his mother’s love for cooking.

Areas of Focus


  • Buying and selling contaminated property
  • Brownfields and redevelopment projects
  • Stormwater impacts
  • Superfund and other litigation over responsibility for release of hazardous substances
  • Solid waste management
  • Natural resources and public trust law
Visit our Environmental page   ▶


  • Stormwater enforcement
  • Code enforcement
  • Drafting Ordinances
  • Project permitting and other entitlements
Visit our Government page   ▶


  • Natural resource and environmental
  • Contract and other commercial disputes
  • Contested case petitions and declaratory matters under NC Administrative Procedures Act
  • Arbitrations
  • Municipal code enforcement
Visit our Litigation page   ▶



University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1989

University of North Carolina, B.A., 1985

+Notable Accomplishments

Recognized as a Leading Attorney by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Environmental Law), 2013-2023

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 Lawyer of the Year for Litigation-Environmental; (Environmental Law), 2008 – 2017, 2021, 2023-2024; and (Litigation – Environmental), 2013-2017, 2021-2024; (Commercial Litigation) 2024

Recognized as Best Lawyers’ 2015 Raleigh Litigation – Environmental Lawyer of the Year

Recognized in Business North Carolina Magazine’s “Legal Elite” (Environmental), 2003, 2007 – 2009, 2011-2015, and 2018; Hall of Fame 2022

Ranked among Super Lawyers magazine’s North Carolina Top 100 North Carolina “Super Lawyers” in 2012; ranked among “Super Lawyers” in Business Litigation, 2006 – 2009, Environmental, 2009 -2015, and 2018

+Professional & Community Activities

North Carolina Association of Municipal Attorneys, Member

Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, Member

Coastal Conservation Association of NC, Life Member

Raleigh Country Club, Member

Indigo Hot Yoga, Member

Easy Riders, MS Bike Team, Member

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