Nesta N. Johnson, Esq. she/her/hers

Family Law Staff Attorney

Nesta joined NCLR in 2020, continuing a career focused on advocating for the rights of children and families, particularly in the child welfare arena. Before joining NCLR, Nesta served as a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society, and later with the Children’s Law Center, in Brooklyn, New York.

Nesta graduated in 2008 with a BA from Stony Brook University, where she majored in Philosophy, and served as the Distinguished Alumni speaker at the 2016 departmental graduation ceremony. Nesta was awarded her JD from the George Washington University Law School in 2013. While attending law school, Nesta did clinical work in medical torts, domestic violence advocacy, and family law.

During her five-year tenure as a staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice, Nesta represented over seven hundred children in primarily child welfare matters. Subsequently, as a writing/appellate staff attorney with The Children’s Law Center, Nesta advocated for youth at the trial and appellate levels in primarily custody and visitation matters.

As a family law attorney at NCLR, Nesta works to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ parents, parents of LGBTQ+ children, and multi-parent families through legislative and policy advocacy, public and professional education, and impact litigation. Nesta works to ensure that every person is able to make decisions about their own bodies, including whether, when, and how to have children, and that LGBTQ+ parents and their children are fully recognized as families under the law regardless of genetic connection or marital status.

Nesta also advocates for expanded, equitable access to reproductive health care, while safeguarding the health and rights of people acting as surrogates and gamete donors. Nesta works at the intersections of LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, economic justice, and disability justice, including by advocating for access to marriage for people receiving public benefits, and for the transformation of the racist, classist, and ableist “child welfare” system.

Through NCLR’s helpline, Nesta and her colleagues provide technical assistance to attorneys representing LGBTQ+ clients and provide LGBTQ+ callers with information, resources, and connections to culturally competent attorneys.

Nesta believes that every child deserves to grow up in a safe, supportive, and accepting home and that every family is entitled to recognition, respect, and equal treatment. She is admitted to practice law in New York State and Pennsylvania.