Matthew W. J. Johnston


  • location icon San Francisco, CA
    333 Bush Street
    Suite 1100
    San Francisco, CA 94104

Matthew Johnston is an associate in the San Francisco office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Admiralty, Maritime & Energy Litigation Practice. Mr. Johnston’s practice concentrates on Admiralty law and maritime defense litigation in both state and federal courts.

Prior to joining Lewis Brisbois, Mr. Johnston was an Associate Attorney with the San Francisco-based maritime law firm of Sterling, Clack & Russo. He has also worked as an extern in the Admiralty Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice in San Francisco.

Mr. Johnston was the Editor-in-Chief of the University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal and was a member of the John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court team. He currently serves on the 2019 Steering Committee as Secretary for the Pacific Admiralty Seminar. He is also a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States.

Related News & Publications

Published Opinions

  • Spooner v. Oracle Team USA, 2015 AMC 1253 (N.D. Cal. 2015)
  • Spooner v. Multi Hull Foiling AC45 Vessel "4 Oracle Team USA", 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104753 (N.D. Cal. 2015)


  • Editor, Lewis Brisbois’ Quarterly Admiralty Newsletter (2017 to Present)
  • "Vessel Arrests under Exigent Circumstances," The Transportation Lawyer (December 2015)

Professional Presentations

  • Session Chair for "Blackbeard 2.0: Solutions for Combatting Today's Tech Pirates" @ the 2017 Pacific Admiralty Seminar, San Francisco, CA
  • "Liability Issues for the Sea Traffic Coordination Center (STCC) in the U.S." @ MarITech 2014, Palo Alto, CA


  • State Bar Admissions
    • California
  • United States District Courts
    • United States District Court for the Central District of California
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • United States Courts of Appeals
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit



U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California

U.S. District Court of the Central District of California

Ninth Circuit

Awards & Honors

  • John Flynn Scholarship for Maritime Law 
  • John Scully Memorial Scholarship for Marine Environmental Law.
  • Arthur C. Zief Jr. Scholarship for Significant Extra-Curricular Contributions to USF School of Law


University of San Francisco, School of Law

Juris Doctor, 2014

College of Charleston

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, 2007

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