W.H. "Kip" Johnson III

Senior Lecturing Fellow


Kip Johnson was the founding director of the Start-Up Ventures Clinic which he co-taught during its pilot phase in the spring 2011 semester. Johnson is also a founding partner of the Morningstar Law Group in Morrisville, N.C., and an experienced securities and technology attorney. He works with clients from seed-stage start-ups to mature operating companies. His practice primarily focuses on representing information technology, software-as-a-service, apps, gaming, telecommunications, e-commerce, social media, life science, green development and socially responsible companies. He also represents a number of investment funds in fund formation, syndication and portfolio company investments.

Since 2005, Johnson has helped clients raise more than $500 million of venture capital, private equity and angel investments to grow their businesses. He assists clients on strategic alliances, technology transfer and licensing arrangements, mergers and acquisitions, employee recruitment and retention issues and commercialization strategies for new technologies. He also has assisted clients in tax credit syndications (federal and state historic, new markets, and solar) and other alternative financing transactions.

Prior to founding Morningstar Law Group, Johnson was a member in the corporate and securities practice group of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice's Research Triangle park office, which he co-founded in 1997; he joined Womble Carlyle in 1994. In 2011 and 2012, he was recognized by Chambers USA as a "Leading Individual" in the corporate/mergers and acquisition practice area. He also is an active angel investor locally and in Silicon Valley.

Johnson earned an AB in Economics from Duke University in 1988 where he graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He was awarded his JD with high honors from Duke School of Law in 1994, where he served on the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal and as a member of the Moot Court Board, and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. Johnson also earned a Masters of Business Administration from Duke's Fuqua School of Business in 1994, where he was named a Fuqua Fellow and Fuqua Scholar.