Michael A. Johnston

One of the major reasons Michael is a criminal defence lawyer is because of the influence and example provided by his family’s service to others.  His grandfather volunteered to serve Canada during the Second World War, his father spent his professional life working as an agricultural specialist with farmers in developing countries, and his mother was involved in human rights work.


The direction that Michael’s service would take became apparent when he was in third grade and read the biography of Abraham Lincoln.  Michael was inspired by what a poor boy from Kentucky accomplished for others, first as a lawyer and then as a politician.  From third grade onward, Michael aspired to be a lawyer for people’s rights.


After he obtained his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Philosophy from Queen’s University in 2006, Michael pursued his dream of becoming a lawyer at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law. He graduated with “Great Distinction” in 2009. Michael was fortunate to receive ten academic awards, including:

  • The Gabe Burkhart Memorial Award in Criminal Law
  • The Thomas P. Deis-Cronkite Prize in Constitutional Law
  • The Donald Maclean Prize in Constitutional Law
  • The Douglas Schmeiser Prize in Criminal Procedure
  • The Honourable David H. Wright Prize in Sentencing


Additionally, Michael has published numerous academic papers in various peer reviewed journals. After law school, Michael completed his articles of clerkship with Greenspan Humphrey Lavine in Toronto. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2010.


As a lawyer, he advocates before juries, judges, appeal courts, and administrative tribunals. His practice is focused on criminal law and quasi-criminal law. Michael has won multiple acquittals in front of juries on-multi count indictments, he has had over twenty firearms excluded from evidence in a single case, he has had breath samples excluded from impaired driving cases due to problematic arrest procedures, and has had clients acquitted for a number of different reasons. He passionately defends against all charges, ranging from shoplifting to murder and everything in between.


Fluent in Spanish and conversant in French, Michael will be dedicated to your cause. He works with everyone’s financial situation to ensure that the defence a person receives does not depend on the depth of their pockets. Michael accepts Legal Aid Ontario ‎certificates and is a member of JusticeNet, a nation-wide program that offers legal services at reduced fees for those experiencing financial difficulties. ‎


Michael is also a Founder and the current President of the Barristers for a Better Bytown, a local charity which aims to give back to members of our community who are in need, including at risk youth, the homeless, and others.

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Michael’s spare time is filled with weight training, martial arts, surfing, reading, and spending time with friends and family.