Carolyn Johnsen

Headshot of Carolyn Johnsen

Carolyn Johnsen is a partner and member of Dickinson Wright PLLC, a 400-person national law firm with offices nation-wide and in Toronto. She practices in Phoenix, Arizona where she focuses on business restructurings, asset sales and acquisitions, commercial transactions and turnaround management.  She has over 28 years of experience in creating complex restructuring plans for multi-million dollar companies in multiple industries including health care,  manufacturing, retail, aviation, energy-related, mortgage lending, real estate, and hospitality. She has advised well over 100 companies, both public and private in formulating and implementing managerial, personnel and operational structures and has negotiated multi-million transactions with lenders, investment bankers and brokers, asset purchasers and sellers, and governmental agencies.  Her representations include serving as lead counsel for one of Arizona’s largest bankruptcies, a case involving a $1 billion loan portfolio, the state’s largest utility company and the owner of a national sports franchise on bankruptcy matters with national importance.

Ms. Johnsen was named by Arizona Business Magazine as one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona for 2015.  She currently co-chairs the national alumnae of the DirectWomen Board Institute dedicated to advancing the selection of women to serve on corporate boards. Ms. Johnsen served on the Board of Directors of Valley Commerce Bank, a publicly-held Arizona bank, from inception in 1995 until its profitable sale in 2005. In 2006, she founded Arizona’s Credit Abuse Resistance Education program designed to teach high school and college students about financial responsibility.

Other community service has included serving on the Board of Directors and as chief financial officer for the Arizona chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and chairing the Arizona Council for Women responsible for coordinating women organizations representing over 84,000 women. In 2009, Ms. Johnsen received the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor Law School Distinguished Achievement Award as co-chair of the committee that raised the funds to revitalize programs in Justice O’Connor’s honor. In 2011, she was selected one of 15 lawyers state-wide as a founding Master of the Arizona Bankruptcy Inn of Court and served on its Board of Directors.

Ms. Johnsen was recently named by Southwest Super Lawyers as one of the top 25 women lawyers in Arizona.  She has been named to Best Lawyers in America each year from 2008-15 and in 2009, she was chosen a finalist for the Arizona Woman of the Year. Ms. Johnsen has lectured widely, over 100 presentations, and written extensively on business and restructuring topics for national and local audiences.

In 2011, while maintaining her full-time law practice, Ms. Johnsen completed a master’s degree in military history with her thesis on Industrial Mobilization. In 2003, she published a cookbook entitled Oh, What to Eat! Quick Comfort Foods for Super Busy People.

Prior to private practice, Ms. Johnsen served as Assistant Dean of the Texas Tech University School of Law. She holds a B.S degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Science from Texas A&M University, a J.D degree from Texas Tech University, and an M.A. degree in Military History from Norwich University.