Velvet Johnson Photo

Velvet D. Johnson

Senior Counsel


Velvet Johnson is senior counsel in the firm’s Privacy & Cybersecurity practice. Drawing on more than a decade of private sector and government experience, Velvet assists clients in identifying and mitigating risks associated with privacy and data security practices. She advises clients on compliance with U.S. federal and state privacy regulations and data security requirements, information security practices, and data breach preparation and response. Additionally, Velvet holds experience in counseling clients on the policy, regulatory, and data security requirements relating to distributed ledger technology.

Clients benefit from Velvet’s high-level knowledge of cybersecurity best practices and technical issues. Prior to joining Michael Best, she served as a cyber strategy consultant for a global management consulting firm where she developed policy and security programs and advised clients on the business impacts of information security and data protection law and regulations.

Prior to joining the private sector, Velvet served as a strategic advisor in the Office of Cyber Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) during the Obama Administration. In this capacity, she counseled the country’s top military and government officials on programmatic, policy, and legal issues relating to cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, and public-private cyber threat intelligence sharing. She also represented the Defense Department in senior-level engagements with other federal agencies, the National Security Council, Congress, and private industry. During her tenure at DOD, Velvet also managed the Department’s implementation of the President’s Executive Order on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity and led the expansion of several public-private sector information sharing initiatives.


Prior to her work in the Executive Branch, Velvet held several roles with the U.S. Congress, including senior counsel for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and counsel to the House Oversight and Government and Reform Committee.

A recognized thought leader, Velvet is frequently sought out as an author and speaker on cyber law and security topics.Velvet is Senior Counsel with Michael Best, and specializes in Privacy & Cybersecurity.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Fellow, University of Hong Kong, Asia Global Institute
  • Fellow, Manfred Worner, German Marshall Fund of the United States
  • Top 40 Under 40, Most Influential Staffers on Capitol Hill

Professional Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Member, Intelligence & National Security Alliance (INSA)
  • Member, D.C. Women's Bar Association
  • Member, Washington Bar Association



Community Involvement

  • Guest Lecturer, Dickinson Law, 2018
  • Steering Committee Member, Women Moving Forward Reentry Conference, National Association of Women Judges, 2015 – 2018
  • Mentor, Future Political Leaders Program, Global Give Back Circle, 2017
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