BARNABAS D. JOHNSON
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1970. Concentration, international and comparative law and jurisprudence.
Case Western Reserve University, B.A., 1967. Major, political science.
2004 to 2015: Research, writing, and lecturing on “democracy building” worldwide. Research and writing focused on building the Jurlandia website, a scholarly endeavor discussed below. Lectures included a presentation on post-Soviet legal-education reform at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, in April, 2004; a presentation at the conference “In Memory of Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989): Human Rights and Democracy in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus” held at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University, in December, 2004; and a presentation on problems of lustration and transitional justice at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, in May, 2005 (published in Ukrainian translation in Krytyka, November 2005; original English at Lustration).
1998-2003: American University of Armenia — Professor of Law, Director of the AUA Legal Resource Center, Associate Dean of Law, and onsite manager of the AUA Department of Law, which was affiliated with the School of Law of the University of California at Berkeley. I was the AUA Law Department’s first full-time professor and onsite manager, and was the key person in its early development. I was also centrally involved in other aspects of university management, and was deeply involved in numerous endeavors promoting law reform, judicial reform, legal-education reform, and “democracy building” in Armenia, the post-Soviet region, and worldwide.
My teaching focused on illuminating the fundamentals of constitutional democracy and law-based governance, and I also taught courses in comparative constitutional and administrative law, comparative law and economics, intellectual property law, international commerce and trade, public international law, and legal argument and writing. My teaching was always given highest evaluations by students, and I am highly regarded by alumni, many of whom are moving into positions of significant responsibility in Armenia and its region.
Through my work at AUA, I developed a special interest in comparative approaches to legal education, which necessarily addresses broader issues of comparative undergraduate and graduate education in post-Soviet countries, the developing world, Western Europe, and the United States.
1997-1998: Wyman & Johnson, Boston, Massachusetts, and Peaks Island, Maine — Lawyer and consultant focused on post-Soviet law reform. This work included creating “content” for the U.S. Justice Department’s rule-of-law website; these writings became the basis of the Jurlandia Project, a pedagogical website currently at www.jurlandia.org.
1994-1996: Almaty, Kazakhstan — Consultant on constitutional and institutional reforms in Central Asia. I was chief U.S. adviser on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan elections and election laws, Kazakhstan’s 1995 constitution and subsequent constitutional crisis, Central Asian NGO laws, and various other constitutional and legal issues, on USAID-funded contracts with the American Legal Consortium and other organizations. Worked pro bono for the Kazakhstan-American Bureau on Human Rights and the Rule of Law, especially in 1995-96.
1989-1994: Wyman & Johnson, Boston Massachusetts — Lawyer and consultant focused on “democracy-building” in the USSR, FSU, and Central and Eastern Europe, with emphasis on the Baltic States. This work included serving as in-country adviser to the Government of Lithuania during the USSR’s efforts to thwart Lithuania’s reassertion of its independence in 1990-91. Helped to conceive and draft the Russian-Lithuanian treaty of mutual recognition of sovereignty, which was concluded shortly before the abortive August 1991 Putsch that sealed the Soviet Union’s fate.
1983-1989: Associate Editor and, after June 1985, Editor-in-Chief, Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, a two-volume, 1200-page loose-leaf service (annual, plus updates). I helped start this project in 1983, my initial responsibility being to develop and employ standard “measures” for evaluating the work and demeanor, etc., of each judge. I headed the entire enterprise after 1985. My staff included from 3 to 7 lawyers, plus others. Basically, the Almanac tracked and summarized the significant activities, opinions, and writings of and about 800 district (trial, Vol. 1) and 200 circuit (appellate, Vol. 2) judges; the project also interviewed thousands of leading litigators and professors, etc., nationwide, regarding federal judges, with a view to developing and publishing systematic profiles and evaluations of each judge. The Almanac was sold to Prentice Hall (Paramount) in 1989, when I commenced full-time work on Soviet and post-Soviet law reform and legal-education reform.
1976-1983: Circle Pines Center, a co-op conference center in Delton, Michigan — Obtained and managed complicated tax-exempt status, and served (at various times) as coordinator of development, research, conferences, programs, and publications. Worked with a full-time staff of 10, a summer staff of 40, an elected board, and a membership of 500. CPC focused on co-op education, co-op management, and finding common ground among various groups, races, and world views.
1976: Harvard Law School — Research assistant to Prof. Harold J. Berman, investigating Greek, Roman, Scholastic, and other foundations of the Western Legal Tradition. Some of this research appears in Berman, The Origins of Western Legal Science, 90 Harv. L. Rev. 894 (1977), and in Berman, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition (Harvard, 1983). My research thereon has continued since 1976, and appears in my more recent writings.
1973-1976: St. Louis Commission on Civil Rights and Human Relations — Counsel. Enforced civil rights ordinances (and drafted a comprehensive new one); presented cases to city civil rights tribunal; coordinated relations with state and federal agencies, and promoted emphasis on conflict management and resolution. Worked closely with Commissioner on all aspects of running a government department employing over 20.
1971-1973: General practice, St. Louis. Focused on non-profit corporations, civil rights, and consumer protection.
1970-1971: Boston World Game, a six-week conference led by Buckminster Fuller on global future, plus a year’s follow-up research and writing in St. Louis. Focused on the future of law and legal institutions, conflict resolution, and cybernetic or self-corrective processes within society.
THE JURLANDIA PROJECT
Since 1990-91, when I first drafted a “model constitution” — at the behest of the Government of Lithuania — aimed at enhancing the “Conversation of Democracy” in the Baltic states and the USSR, etc., various versions of what has now become the Jurlandia Project at www.jurlandia.org have existed as an evolving internet-mediated research and publishing endeavor. That endeavor seeks to enhance a sort of “encyclopedia of comparative constitutional jurisprudence” organized not A through Z but, rather, organized as a sort of “hologram of systemic consequences” that can be searched by “natural language” protocols and and can be accessed from many points, perspectives, etc. In short, a coevolution of the “Common Law” and science more generally.
I was born at the Primavera Bruderhof, Paraguay, in 1943, of British parents; the Bruderhof is an “intentional commune” movement that was and remains highly idealistic but dangerously flawed.
My first language was German, and I retain a fair understanding. I grew up in a “commune” in Shropshire, England, 1947-55, and then emigrated with my family to a “commune” in North Dakota, USA.
Expelled from the Bruderhof at age 14, I attended Olney Friends School in Barnesville, Ohio, during 1958-61. I worked my way through college and law school.
In 1986 I married Lowry Wyman, a “Soviet-law” expert. She died in 2015.
My hobbies include singing, whistling, playing my wooden flutes (recorders), classical music, opera, science, philosophy, computers, and gentle table tennis.
I hold a U.S. Passport and a (recently-expired) U.K. Passport.
I was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1972 (present status, inactive but in good standing) and the Massachusetts Bar in 1989 (present status, inactive but in good standing).
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