Erika L. Johnson


A third generation Montanan, Erika L. Johnson enjoys serving the diverse legal needs of the people of her beloved state.  Erika brings a breadth of litigation and transactional experience to Worden Thane.  Her early career was heavily focused in general civil litigation, as she successfully argued (and prevailed) in many cases at the district and appellate levels.  In 2002, she received the Montana State Bar’s George F. Bousliman Professionalism Award, along with her late father, Jim Johnson, for their joint efforts in improving access to justice among our most vulnerable populations.

Erika now brings to the foreground specialties in complex estate planning, trusts, probate, elder law & special needs planning, business formation & structure, asset protection strategies, commercial transactions, family business succession, real estate development, complex real estate transactions, tax planning, and the intersection of those specialties.  She truly enjoys assisting her clients with the important legal matters, puzzles, and decisions that occur across the lifespan of individuals, families, and businesses, from start-up phase, through expansion and growth, to succession and legacy planning.

During law school, Erika was co-editor of the Public Land and Resources Law Review, a member of the UM Law Negotiations Team, and upon graduation, served as a judicial clerk for the Montana Supreme Court, our state’s highest appellate court.  Erika is a current member of the Montana State Bar and its BETTR Section (Business, Estates, Trusts, Tax and Real Estate).



Erika was born in Great Falls but left the windy city at age nine with her family to live in Kalispell where she grew up an avid skier, hiker, raft guide, and adventure seeker, having survived the dangerous landscape of scooping ice cream for Glacier Park tourists.  Erika left Montana to pursue a B.A. in Economics from Willamette University in Oregon and completed that school’s Pacific Rim study abroad program to China, S. Korea, and Japan.  She took a detour to trek the Himalayas before finally landing in Missoula to study law where she obtained her J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law.  Although a true Grizzly at heart, Erika may be seen on occasion dipping her toe into Bobcat Country when visiting her daughter who proudly attends Montana State University.

Outside of her law practice, Erika has given her time and resources to her community as co-founder of a nonprofit Bridges Autism Advocacy Group, past board member of Center for Restorative Youth Justice, and current board member of the Supervisory Committee of the Whitefish Credit Union.  Outside of her work, Erika enjoys spending time with her family, music, traveling the world, and enjoying the wilds of Montana by foot, pedal, or paddle.


Educational Background

Juris Doctor, University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, MT – 1997

Honors and Activities:

Co-Editor of the Public Land and Resources Law Review.

Author, NEPA Loses More Ground, Public Land and Resources Law Review.

National Co-Finalist for Negotiations Team, UM School of Law.

Bachelor of Arts: Economics, Willamette University, Salem, OR

Participated in Pacific Rim clinical study abroad program to China, S. Korea, and Japan.


Cases Litigated Before the Montana Supreme Court

Shelter Valley Road Users Assoc., Inc. v. Russell (2021), 2021 MT 79N (easements) (prevailed).

McCrorie vs. Franz, (2016), 2016 MT 313N (easements) (prevailed).

Mortgage Source, Inc. v. Strong (2003), 2003 MT 205 (Truth in Lending Act) (prevailed).

Marriage of Snell (2002), 2002 MT 243N (marital property dispute) (prevailed).

Luke v. Gager (2000), 2000 MT 377 (Gifts, Constructive Trust, Undue Influence) (lost).

Hilton v. Sprinkle (2000), 2000 MT 247N (whether jury award against defendant #1 should be reduced by the amount the plaintiff received from a settlement with defendant #2 and its insurer) (prevailed).

Memberships, Honors, & Additional Qualifications

Licensed Attorney and Member of the Montana State Bar and its BETTR Section (Business, Estates, Trusts, Tax, and Real estate transactions).

Served on the Montana WINGS Committee (Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders) appointed by the Governor.

Recipient of the George L. Bousliman Professionalism Award awarded by the Montana State Bar in recognition of launching the local District Court Pro Bono Program and Self-Help Law Desk to assist self-represented persons of modest means gain access to our judicial system in resolving civil disputes.

Past volunteer Board Member of Center for Restorative Youth Justice (CRYJ), Kalispell, Montana.

Elected member of the Supervisory Committee, the auditing arm of the credit union. The SC is a working body responsible for monitoring and establishing risk management and quality control measures to ensure adherence to legal standards, regulations, and best practices, while safeguarding credit union members’ assets.

One of two Co-Founders, Designers, and Executive Managers of an NPO start-up to design and implement the Bridges Project, an innovative model of inclusive education for children with Autism and other disabilities in public schools. Managed the Bridges Project through its intended lifespan including conceptual research and design, strategic planning, legal entity formation, marketing and development, pre-launch seed money grants, staff training and development, launch and implementation, ongoing oversight of programs and budget, accountability statements to donors, and full assumption of Bridges Project by public schools.