M. Lee Johnsey

Lee Johnsey

Lee Johnsey


Partner, Balch & Bingham
Birmingham & Montgomery


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Lee Johnsey focuses on the acquisition, development, ownership, management and disposition of real estate, unsecured and secured lending, corporate matters, gaming finance and operation, and tax sales. Lee understands that clients are looking for solutions, and his experience allows him to structure deals to anticipate future issues and to assist clients with responding to any issues that do arise before they become problems.

When problems do arise, Lee’s transactional and litigation experience uniquely positions him to view the big picture and nuances of an issue, and to counsel clients about the implications of a course of conduct. Lee understands that results are sometimes best achieved through litigation avoidance and others through litigation. Lee helps clients balance efficiency and desired results as he works through issues alongside them.

Lee values the opportunity to work with a variety of clients to meet their goals and mitigate risk. His in-depth experience on both the transactional and litigation sides of real estate, lending, and corporate transactions allows him to effectively structure deals, understand and anticipate potential problem areas, and advise clients about how to resolve potential and existing issues.


  • Residential subdivision development: Representation of a developer in the acquisition and development of three residential neighborhoods which are age-restricted and contain a number of common area amenities owned by the homeowner’s association for the benefit of the neighborhood residents.
  • Interstate Land Full Sale Disclosure Act: Advise developers with respect to compliance and exemptions available under the Interstate Land Full Sale Disclosure Act.
  • Retail and multifamily development: Representation of a real estate developer in the negotiation of joint venture, and the acquisition, zoning, and development of a large retail and multifamily development in South Carolina.
  • Secured lending: Representation of lender in $18 million loan secured by multifamily real property in North Carolina.
  • Sale of real property: Representation of a property owner in the sale of real property located in Ft. Myers, Florida, partially located in a wetlands area.
  • Defense of lender liability claims: Representation of a large regional financial institution with respect to the foreclosure and subsequent management of an operating marina, and arbitration relating to deficiency balance and defense of $20 million counterclaim arising from the same lending relationship.
  • Acquisition and financing of medical school and student housing: Member of team representing bond underwriter in $175 million financing of the acquisition of a medical school and student housing in Bronx, New York.
  • Tax sales: Representation of a large regional financial institution that had foreclosed on real property in the redemption of that property from a tax sale that occurred prior to the foreclosure.
  • Low income housing tax credits (LIHTC): Member of team that regularly represents developers and tax credit syndicators in the development and rehabilitation of LIHTC properties throughout the country.
  • Gaming: Regularly represents gaming lessor and operator relating to the purchase, leasing, financing, and licensing of gaming machine on Indian reservations in Oklahoma.
  • Sale of dental practice: Representation of owner of dental practice in the sale of all corporate assets and leasing of real property to new practice, and negotiation of employment agreement for the selling doctor to be an employee of the new practice.


  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, 2010
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 2010
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 2010
  • Alabama State Courts, 2009
  • Florida State Courts, 2010


  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Ones to Watch, 2022 & 2023

  • Birmingham Business Journal, Rising Star Lawyer, 2018

  • Birmingham Magazine, Top Attorney, 2017 & 2018
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2017 & 2018


  • Alabama State Bar, Young Lawyer’s Section, President, 2017 – 2018; Vice President, 2016 – 2017; Executive Committee, 2013 – present; Secretary, 2016; Treasurer, 2015;
  • Alabama State Bar, Board of Bar Commissioners and Executive Council, ex officio
  • Alabama State Bar, Local Task Force, Task Force on Certain Disciplinary Considerations, Finance and Audit Committee, Bench & Bar Relations Task Force
  • American Bar Association (ABA); House of Delegates, 2015 – present; Young Lawyer’s Division Assembly, 2014 – present; liaison between ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section and ABA Young Lawyer’s Division on membership 2014 – present; Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s Task Force on Outreach to Young Lawyers 2015 – present; Real Property Trusts and Estates Committee, Vice-Chairman, 2014 – 2015; Ethics and Professionalism Committee, Vice-Chairman, 2013 – 2014
  • Alabama CCIM Chapter
  • Alabama Affordable Housing Association
  • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association


  • Alabama, 2009
  • Florida, 2010


  • University of Florida Fredric G. Levin School of Law, J.D., 2009, with honors
  • Auburn University, B.S.B.A., Accountancy, 2006, Spade Honorary; Omicron Delta Kappa, President